Posts published in January, 2019

Creating a tech smart dorm room as an ingenious college student


Technology has not only revolutionized our perspective of the world, but also it has changed our lives by increasing the speed of time. Technology and the college generation are closely linked. If in the old days, students only had a laptop and a flip phone, nowadays they have all the tools they could possibly need to make automation easy. It takes a few additions to transform a plain dorm room into a smart one.

But why should they bother, anyway? To tell the truth, dorm life is not glittering. Suites have concrete walls, twin beds, and boring pieces of furniture. It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. There are many benefits for college students looking to create a smart dorm with the help of the latest electronic devices. If you are interested in transforming your sleeping room into a technological wonderland, this is what you need to do.

Get a computer with the right software

At present, there is a strong interest for the digital assistant among consumers. We have witnessed increased campus-wide usage. Students are familiar with Amazon-powered technology, such as Alexa. Alexa currently powers the Echo devices that are present in every dorm room and apartment on Saint Louis University campus. Who knows? Maybe we will see smart living speakers at Stanford too. Getting back on topic, connectivity will be the norm.

If you wish to be prepared for any situation that might come your way, think about bringing the convenience of the smart home into the dorm room. To do that, you will need a computer with the right software. There is no denying that home automation software can be a little bit expensive, but there is good news. You do not have to purchase the latest tech device to use it. Get your hands on an old machine, clean it, check the system, and use it for dorm room automation. If you have some sort of technical expertise, know that there are free, as well as open source options available.

Do not rely on your roommates or the manual lock. At this hour, automating your dorm room is your best bet.

What devices are good for creating a smart dorm room?

By simply integrating tech gadgets, college students can gain independence and make their lives so much easier. The great thing about dorm room automation gadgets is that they will not make your wallet cry. Some electronic devices are lightweight, meaning that you can take them with you from year to year. We have narrowed down some of the best gadgets for college students willing to equip their dormitories with utility.

  • Smart speaker: Wireless speakers have an integrated virtual assistant, enabling users to do many things like controlling the lights or getting hold of important information. The smart speaker that you choose must offer high-quality audio and ensure seamless integration with any music streaming services. There will be times when you will want to entertain your friends.


  • Motorized blackout shades: Motorized blackout shades are a great addition to any dorm room. You will sleep well night after night, not to mention that the shades will block the sunlight when you have to study. Thanks to advances in technology and increased demand, smart window treatments are reasonably priced. What is more, there are many options to choose from. Make sure that you find the perfect fit.


  • Smart plugs: Some power receptacles make it possible for you to control everything that you plug in from your mobile phone. They are called smart plugs. Smart plugs make a great choice for students. They operate on Wi-Fi, being accessed through an Android or iOS app, without limitations. Most importantly, they can be set to timers. If you have forgotten to turn something off, you can just use your smartphone.


  • Wi-Fi door lock: Just as you can turn off an appliance from your phone, you can lock the door of your dorm room. How? With the help of a Wi-Fi door lock. You trust your roommate, but how well can you really know someone? If you want to have complete peace of mind, you should really secure your place.


  • Smart coffee maker: Drinking caffeine as a college student is not out of the question. A good cup of Joe makes the morning go a lot smoother. Coffee is good for your body and, as long as you do not drink too much, you will be perfectly fine. A smart dorm room is not complete without a smart coffee maker. When you have such a device, you can control the timing of your preferred cup of coffee. So, even before you get out of bed, the hot beverage will be waiting for you.

Living the connected life

Anything that can be physically or electronically measured can be connected to the Internet. There is no reason why you should settle for just a few tricks when you can live the connected life. Think about it. Owing to advances in technology, it is now possible to detect gas leaks and vacuum the room. Figure out how far you are willing to go. There are no limits when it comes down to automation, that is for sure.

A bit about myself:

Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management. My work has been featured and mentioned in a wide range of publication.

How students can utilize technology in the medical field


 One of the most common questions that med students are asked is if they still think that it is worth all the hard work. This is quite an interesting question. Especially because many of these students have always wanted to go into medicine. They just always knew that they wanted to study medicine and become a surgeon. Look, it is hard. It is always going to be, no matter what you choose to study (if you even decide to study at all). Studying any field demands attention to detail and patience, but studying medicine is on a whole other level. Being a student and committing your time and energy to working towards your career goals is a tough job sometimes. But even so, it is always worth it in the end. For some med students, they just know that they want to help people, and becoming a surgeon seemed like the most worthwhile way for them to do that. So that is what they do. It is hard work, but more than that is understanding the key shifts that are happening in the industry. It might seem more obvious to some people, but technology has had quite a significant impact on most – if not all – industries lately. Medicine included.

This shift does not just correlate with digital health records and automating simple healthcare systems. Those are quite important innovations in the field, too, but the change that any student entering medicine needs to be aware of is this: the big-scale technological shift. From digital health records and automating systems, to the most intricate improvements, like machine learning healthcare, technology has well and truly found its way into the healthcare and medical industry. And they must be prepared for that. The field of medicine and healthcare has changed. As with the rest of the world, there has been a gravitational shift towards a more technologically-enhanced future. Some med students are happy being general practitioners, helping people daily with small health and medical issues. Others are more specifically focused – on becoming a surgeon, for example.

Now, surgeons have historically had very methodical ways of working to remove tumors and the like. This is the way it has always been. However, now technology is coming into the scene and changing things in sometimes drastic ways. Cholecystectomy, for example, is the removal of the gallbladder. This surgery is more common than you might think, in fact it is one of the most commonly performed surgical operations there is. Currently, a surgeon goes into the surgery performing slightly invasive tools and methods. These methods are known as Laparoscopic Gallbladder removal. While this surgery is often a success, it also happens to sometimes cause complications. And sometimes errors are made (no matter how hard the surgeon tries). Vascular injury and inadvertent bile duct are the most common injuries that arise during Cholecystectomy. The mistake occurs when a surgeon is unable to definitively identify the common bile duct, and instead mistakes it for the cystic duct.

These are the effects and circumstances that all surgeons-to-be (and anyone going into medicine, for that matter) should familiarise themselves with.  it is unfortunate, and it is serious, but sometimes humans make mistakes and we all need to be accepting of that. But here is the cool part. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now in development that could drastically impact this surgery’s prospective complications – eradicate them, even. Specifically in the case of thus surgery, AI can be invaluable. Why? Because using AI could precisely distinguish and recognise the anatomical structures that are the focus during a Cholecystectomy. AI has an incredible ability to take data and synthesize information to improve the recognition of the anatomical structures. This would be done in a more timely manner, and as such would drastically reduce the risk of medical error during surgery.

When med students start at university, they are told time and again that medicine requires a human touch and compassion to be truly effective. For this reason, a lot of students often feel that, when technology began to be introduced, that it would not take in the medical field. A lot of these same students drop out not long into the degree or fail courses that they needed to continue. They are not willing to adapt and shift with a gravitating field, and so their old-school attitudes make it too difficult for them to persevere. The healthcare industry has a lot to gain from embracing technology, with artificial intelligence and machine learning leading the charge.

And despite people’s insistence that the medical field is stubborn in its traditional ways, medical students going through their studies now, as well as those who are looking to study medicine in the future, will and should be ready and excited to embrace the technologically-fueled innovations that are working on strengthening my industry. By the time they enter the workforce, it will be ripe with technologies. If that is not exciting enough to tip their decision towards studying medicine, then honestly, what is?

Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at 



How College Students Gain From Traveling


Many educators today are afraid of taking students on tours due to the increasing security and safety measures regarding group travel. Both new and experienced educators fear the risks in case any of the students are found to be non-compliant. But student trips should not be seen as a hassle, but rather as an opportunity for the students to learn the basics of traveling, what is expected of them, and how to plan for these trips and others in future. For that reason, keep reading to discover the various ways through which students can gain from trips and this what Thrifty Points does.

To begin with, these are a few safety areas that students need to prepare for. These will go a long way to equip them with how to plan ahead in life.

Find An Appropriate Travel Planner

This, of course, is not a requirement on the part of students, but an essential factor in planning their trip. It is best when the group travel planner is reliable. It is always advisable to join mailing lists of trustable websites like Thrifty Points and get their best articles about worldwide luxury travel and air miles earning opportunities. They have No charge and No Spam. They give only Inspiration to the people. Use the list here to identify the most qualified travel planner for any student trip.

  • Begin by discussing the destination and objectives of the educational tour with the prospective travel planner to determine whether they are experienced and familiar with the travel destination. You will know your prospective travel planner is a professional by the group histories and earlier itineraries to support their history of experience.
  • Next, you may want to determine the duration of your travel planner company has been in business. You should specifically check for how long they have been helping facilitate student trips. Three years minimum is a good time for the travel planner to have garnered enough knowledge of how those trips should be conducted. Another important consideration is to make sure your travel planning agency has not filed for bankruptcy in at least five years. To help you understand the company more, it is best that you consider doing a background check. This will help you establish whether the principals of the firm have been convicted for any offenses that involve fraud, child abuse, breach of trust and deception among others.
  • A travel planner company worth its salt should have proper liability insurance, besides a comprehensive risk management plan. In the event of natural disasters occurring, the preponderance of educators is often ill-prepared of the financial risks linked with group travel, while others are just totally unprepared.
  • Be certain to find out the financial safeguards in place for protecting the customers. With a comprehensive consumer protection plan, the travel planner demonstrates their commitment to protecting the deposits and fees of their clients.

Ground Rules

Most of the educators usually set behavioral ground rules when taking students on a trip. It is however recommended that the teachers set the expectations for safe behavior. Some of them include:

  • Setting rules to make sure that all young people maintain their sitting positions. A more significant amount of accidents occur when passengers are standing in walkways.
  • Pay maximum attention to pre-flight safety demos, while making sure that each student gets to know where the nearest exit is located
  • Participants of the educational tours should be advised to ensure their doors are locked and chained, and shouldn’t open the hotel room to strangers
  • Ensure all participants of the trip know how they can get in touch the hotel front desk and the room of their group leader
  • Educators need to make sure that all students have the name, phone number and address of the hotel all the time. They should also have the 24-hour hotline of the tour company. These are important in the event that a student finds they are alone. They can use those contacts, and the authorities can assist them in finding the rest of the group.
  • It is a good thing that students keep smaller cash denominations to help them pay for small purchases without necessarily opening their wallets in busy places.
  • Putting in place a buddy system rule ensure that no one strays from the rest of the group. Besides, be sure to include adult chaperones; each with a list of students assigned by cell phone number and names.

The above tips are quite critical in helping students understand that rules are not just a thing meant for the school environment. They are able to understand that rules are a general principle that helps with cohesive coexistence in society. Also, students start learning the important lessons of keeping themselves secure when engaging the general public. Thus, always connecting reliable resources like Thrifty Points keeps us safe and well organized.

Essential Safety Tips

It is vital that both parents and students are given additional safety tips to facilitate an incident-free trip. Some of the important safety tips are here below.

  • It is important that all participants are advised on the limit of cash they should bring. In essence, both parents and students are given a guide about the amount of money they are going to need. Alternatively, you can have the parents carry ATM or credit cards in case they find an opportunity to use them.
  • Make sure you gather health information from each of the families of students taking part in the trip. Parents must sign forms and permissions notarized for making the trip. When students are traveling overseas, it is best to choose a plan that offers coverage as well. A competent tour operator should be able to advise the school authorities on buying travel insurance. This will typically cover extras like theft occurring during the trip.
  • Bring a basic first aid kit with antibiotic cream, bandages, and painkillers among others.
  • Establish beforehand the participants that are taking medication. It is advisable that such prescriptions are kept in their original containers. Bringing copies of the current prescriptions makes it easier to replace lost medications. Another important thing is to list all students with allergies and the required medication.
  • Make sure participants make copies of their travel documents such as visas, airline tickets, and passports for safe keeping. They will come in handy in the event the original documents get lost or misplaced.

For the interests of students and youths traveling, it is crucial that all safety and security measured are passed across the entire group. For that reason, keep reading to discover the various ways through which students can gain from trips as well as information providers that allow students to travel further for less such as Thrifty Points.

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

5 Ways you’re holding yourself back as a student


We’ve all got bad habits. It comes with the being-human territory. At the same time, if we can do away with a few so every now and then we’re going to be much better off. This is particularly true of your student years. After all, these are the last few years of your life where you’re learning pretty much full time. And as they’re often expensive, the more you can stick up the better off you’ll be.

So, what are some of the biggest mistakes holding you back from getting the most of your time as a student? Let’s explore a few.

Not getting concrete about your schedule

“Trust me, procrastination is a problem most of us face. It’s hard to get to work! But there are a lot of things you can do to fight procrastination,” shares Christopher Mercer, freelancer and founder of Citatior.

One of the most effective is to create a concrete schedule where you write out what you are going to do and when you’re going to do it.

The reason this works better than saying ‘I am going to do it this week’ or even ‘I am going to do this tomorrow’ is that you’re giving yourself far less psychological space to push things back. If you say you’re going to do something tomorrow, when the morning rolls around you can push it back to the middle of the day. And from there it’s a short distance to the evening. By that time, you’re tired and before you notice it you’ve scheduled it for the next day.

If you say to yourself ‘I am going to start at 10 AM tomorrow’ then that’s a lot harder to do. Once it’s 10:30 you know you’re late and that will give you a nice psychological push. So schedule concretely. Even better, write it down – as that creates more commitment.

Depending on willpower to get things done

Common culture has this idea that successful people become successful by relying on willpower to push away temptations and distraction. The research, however, says differently. They say that the trick to actually getting things done is to avoid temptation. Make sure that you can’t actually get to it easily and then you are far more likely to be able to keep going.

And that makes sense. As James Daily, writer and Flashessay contributor shares: “If you think of willpower like a muscle, then obviously the more strain you put on it, the more quickly you’ll tire it out.”

And that means you’re not going to get as much done! So, avoid temptation. Install software to block social media and such. Then you can get on with the actual task of doing what you’re supposed to.


Here I don’t mean the practice of going over all the stuff before an exam. Here I’m talking about the action of relying only on that way of studying to try to learn a subject. There are a lot of people who rely almost exclusively on pushing everything back until the deadline is almost upon them and then working in a flurry of caffeine-fueled anxiety to get things done before the deadline hits.

The thing is, that’s not terribly effective. Not only are you going to do worse on exams and papers, but you’re also going to remember far less of it. That’s because the human mind requires repetition to remember something for the long-term. And that’s going to be a drawback in whatever profession you pursue.

A much better strategy is to actually read the stuff when you’re supposed to and then read through it again before the exam. The second time won’t be half as labor intensive and chances are you’ll remember much more both during the exam and after it.

Isolating yourself

Hey, I get it. You’re not doing very well and you’re getting stressed out. So, you pull yourself back from your social life and invest more time in your studies. And sure, up to a level that’s not a bad idea. Extra study time can be helpful – particularly if you weren’t doing that much, to begin with.

The thing is, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. And isolating yourself from everybody and not having a social life in order to study is a perfect example of that. You see, your state of mind has a big impact on how well you do at things. And isolating yourself is going to have a seriously negative impact on your mind.

For that reason, follow the suggestions of the Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage. Make sure that you’re actually happy and doing well mentally as that will contribute more to you doing well in school than isolating yourself will.

Stay healthy

Your brain and your body are not two separate things. They are one and the same. And if you’re not healthy, then neither is your brain. So, give yourself the best opportunities you can by eating well and getting exercise.

“These things might seem like a waste of time when things are going badly and your grades are suffering, but trust me – they’ll make a huge difference,” explains Sylvia Giltner, a career advisor at Resumes Centre.

That’s both true now and in the long run, where bad eating habits, while you’re young, can lead to all sorts of long-term health problems.

Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash

Last words

Studying is a big deal. It’s an incredible opportunity to get ahead and make the best of your life. But to make sure that you get the most from it, you have to tackle some of the behaviors that are holding you back.

If you can tackle even a few of these, you’ll see some dramatic changes – both during your studies and afterward.

Jessica Fender is a professional writer, independent blogger, and chief content officer at She is passionate about wise team management and self-development as a leader. Featured on Freelancer and Addicted2Success.


Getting an on-campus job can be the best thing to happen to you


While your semester is going on in full session, the last thing that you would consider to be feasible is to take up the responsibilities of an on-campus job, as an add-on to your homework, classes and extra-curricular activities. But, you need to snap out of the ordinary thinking and look at the bigger picture. An on-campus job can turn out to be one of the best things to happen in your life.

Whether or not to take up the job? – Well, it’s your bank account that can give that answer for you.

Need more motivation? Here it goes…

More money means a more comfortable and happening college life

Hands down, the ‘making money’ factor is the most important whenever you look for a job at any point of time in life. Having enough money in your hand while in college is one of the most delightful pleasures in life, and this luxury can go a long way and be extremely beneficial if you know how to use it wisely. Whether it is to help your parents, or to sponsor your parties or to save for your higher education – this is one great way to build up the finances.

You’ll fall into a healthy schedule and learn to be systematic

Getting involved in a campus job right from your university days can shape you into a better more matured and systematic individual, who knows how to value and make the most of his/her time. A fixed schedule for the job would teach you how to optimize your time do as to be able to take care of academics, the job as well as your recreation time. You would learn to keep records and be very organized. These learnings would be an asset when you become a part of the corporate world in future. This systematic and accommodative attitude would keep you ahead of others in every aspect – whether it’s an urgent presentation, an early morning meeting or how to reimburse mileage in the most optimized way.

You’ll get to network with new groups

A campus job would open new doors and avenues for you to get connected with new people and form a fruitful network. If you make good use of your campus job’s tenure, your boss or supervisor may grow really fond of you and see a huge potential in you for a long-term collaboration. A good network would also help you get amazing recommendations for future opportunities.

It sounds pretty exciting isn’t it? So now, if you are all geared-up to get an on-campus job, it’s important to highlight here that it’s not always a cake-walk.

Thus, we have a few tips to help you bag that dream job of yours.

  • First and foremost, figure out what you want to do

Very honestly, list out what are the skills you possess, and what are the kinds of on-campus jobs that you can apply these skills to. If you are a water baby who is a pro swimmer, you can consider applying as the lifeguard for the university pool, or, if you are a hospitality student, or maybe your family owns a restaurant and you are familiar with the work, you can go for the dining hall.


  • Do not underestimate your resume

A lot of college student hunting for on-campus jobs make this mistake of absolutely ignoring the power of their resume just because it’s a campus job. Treat the application process with as much seriousness as you would for any other full-time job I the world. Thus, make your resume and cover letter as impactful as possible.


  • Always keep an eye on the university job board

Some universities maintain an online campus job portal, where they regularly update available openings for university students, while some others might have a physical campus job board where they put out posters or flyers regarding openings. You have to keep an eye on these resources at all times until you get the job you seek. Or, if there are any other programs or portals you need to enrol to for the campus jobs – do it without any delay, and keep your profile updated there.


  • Interact with peers who got their jobs

As mentioned before, networking and reaching out to people always works. If you have friends or classmates or even acquaintances for that matter who managed to get a job on your campus, do not be afraid to question them about their experience. Check with them to find out if they are aware of any other openings in their department. You may also request them to introduce you to their supervisor or manager to try your luck at impressing them. You need to sharpen your social and inter-personal skills to survive in this competitive world.


  • Seek help from your professors

If you are in very good terms with one or more professors, then you can make good use of this connection. This particularly helps if you have interest in joining an academic department as a fellow or assistant or maybe an intern. Interact with the professors, share your interests with them, and show them that you are really passionate about taking up the duties.

So it’s time you take the first step, and as I always believe – where there’s passion, opportunities open up on its own.

Believe in yourself and be willing to work hard!

Leslie Wilder a creative writer & blogger, who is residing in Nashville the capital of U.S. state of Tennessee, I’m also a self-proclaimed happiness junkie, and someone you would generally consider confident and well balanced.




Tips for colleges to safeguard students from cyber attacks


Which are the entities according to you that suffer from the biggest Cybersecurity threats in modern times? Brace up for a shocking revelation! It is SCHOOLS. It is not unknown that all individuals associated with a school – be it teachers or students, use the computer, or most precisely the internet on a regular basis, in heavy frequencies. When a security breach occurs on a school or college network, it can be with the intent of extracting sensitive information, or many a times can be just to disrupt the operation of critical academic processes.

It took a while for schools and colleges to realize and accept that they are potential targets of cyber criminals. And now when they did, it’s about time to come up with robust strategies to safeguard valuable assets which are probably the earnings of someone’s lifelong hard work.

You as students are in maximum danger if there is a cyber attack. Hence, it is important that you realize the gravity of the situation, urge your school to take actions and do your bit to keep and stay cyber safe at all times.

Here are a few guidelines that would help you combat cyber attackers…

  • Don’t ever try to download media that’s free and unknown from your college network

When you download torrents or stream videos online, you expose your computer to loads of suspicious malware and harmful viruses. There are certain Trojan-viruses, which are capable of recording every single move of yours, on the computer – which would obviously include all the user IDs and passwords you enter. By avoiding sites that promote piracy and content that’s illegal, you would be able to keep a lot of attackers away.


  • Avoid saving your payment details online

Whenever you make any online purchase, the e-commerce websites always give you the option of saving your transaction or card details for a faster checkout in future. Although it seems like a great option, it’s advisable not to opt for it, especially if you are using your college systems, even if you are making purchases from the big and reliable brands. Attackers are always on a lookout for this stored information. And if they catch hold of it, that would be it.


  • Avoid using public cloud based services

Cloud based technologies like One Drive and Dropbox although are great tools for students to share notes and projects, open up new avenues for attackers to access your network and your personal information. So, if your college authorities refrain you from using these medium, cooperate with them as a short term gain might cause you a long term pain. Also, avoid using external devices like SD cards and memory sticks as much as possible.

There are certain policies which can only be implemented by the institution’s authorities. So student associations are advised to request their institutions to implement policies such as the following:

  • Maintain a discretion in terms of providing access

Segregate profiles, and offer access to critical information only to individuals who genuinely need it. Ensure that one username and password should not provide access to all nooks and corners. Also, control the kinds of information that users can copy, download or share via email from institution portals.


  • Enforce updated technological barriers

Ensure that all the systems being used within the premises of the institution, or the ones which are provided by the institute to access sensitive information, is well protected b y anti-virus software, upgraded firewalls and other security tools.


  • Take the authentication process seriously

When it comes to accessing crucial and private information, implement a structure which requires multi-level authentication.


  • Invest on the encryption tools

You have to be far sighted and be prepared to give a tough fight to the cyber criminals right till the very end. They might be able to extract the information, but then what? It’s of no use to them unless they can read the information. Here’s where data encryption comes into play. Use the best possible tools for encrypting all data, including those which you think aren’t too valuable.

While these are the small yet significant everyday measures teachers, students and authorities should take to safeguard themselves, there are also some serious protections that need to be implemented.One such preventive step is opting for a cyber insurance policy.Jumping right to the point, let’s talk about what kind of cyber breach scenarios you can expect protection from, under the umbrella of such insurances.

  • Expenses which result from a privacy breach. It includes the investigation and forensic research expenses, and in some cases also the public relations cost
  • The cost of implementing new sets of regulations for the cause of defending a breach that is levied by federal authorities or state regulatory bodies.
  • The expenses for the lawsuits to retaliate breaches
  • Coverage for extortion amounts, resulting a cyber attack
  • The loss suffered by the institution as a result of the cyber attack, and subsequent system disruption.

Cyber insurance coverage have popularized over time, as technologies have started becoming more complex, and attacks have started getting more severe. So it’s high time we all realize the importance of it and consider it as a wise investment.While technology has given us a plethora of rewards over the years and still continues to give so, it brings along with it certain evils which we must be prepared to combat.


Samantha Brown is a freelance writer who specializes on carrier guidance, she is also motivational speaker and author






3 Proven Ways to Get Financial Aid for Your Dream College


Getting into a dream college is cause for excitement and pride for graduating students and their families. But excitement can turn to panic when future freshmen see the price of higher education. With college costs rising year after year, few are able to pay out-of-pocket or by freelancing on the side. Indeed, around two million students already rely on financial aid deals for higher education services. A generous financial aid package oftentimes makes the difference for students, easing the costs of college and making it possible to achieve educational dreams and learn important professional skills.

While the financial aid deal offered may seem like an area where the student has little control, students hold power as potential future clients of the university. Students should consider themselves potential customers shopping for the best deal. With their role as customers in mind, graduating students can take three (free!) tips from high-level business negotiation training to ensure a financial aid deal that makes a university degree more accessible.

Do research on the appeals process

Any good negotiation workshop will tell students to arrive at a negotiation having done research about the other party’s expectations, history, processes, and limits. Students can bring research into the first step of negotiating a better financial aid deal by learning about their dream school’s protocols for redefining a financial aid package.

If a student tries to call a financial aid officer directly, instead of following the school’s established process, the student may never even get to a negotiation with the appropriate person. Often the financial aid officer is unable to make a decision unilaterally; so the student won’t benefit by trying to bypass protocols.

Instead of trying to forge a separate path, students should learn the process for appealing the aid decision at their dream school, as well as do their homework to find out what materials to gather in order to make a more compelling case.

Translating win-win

A negotiation skill taught in the best negotiation workshops is to consider both parties’ needs, and search for a win-win solution in service of as many of those needs as possible. So, in order to get ready to negotiate a new financial aid deal, students must prepare to demonstrate their own needs.

Price is usually the main sticking point when deciding whether a student goes to a dream school, so students should prepare documentation that shows that the only barrier to the student going to the university is cost. To get better needs-based offers, students can show that their family’s income is too limited to invest in the school’s services. Documentation should also demonstrate any changes in the family’s financial circumstances since the application, which make payment more challenging. To argue for more merit-based aid, students can show improved grades or a new SAT score which could help the student access new scholarships.

Students should also consider how to take advantage of needs the university has. Universities want the students they have made offers to to accept. If the college took the time to select those students from a massive pool of applicants, then the college thinks the student’s presence would be beneficial to the college’s interests. So selected students would do well to understand why the University selected them. If students remember the negotiation skill of looking for mutual benefit, students can use this information to make a more compelling argument to their dream school, showing that some more aid would allow both the student and the university to meet their objective of having the student attend the institution.

Remember alternatives

In negotiation skills courses, you’re likely to learn about something called your BATNA – your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Any negotiator must keep in mind what alternatives exist if the negotiation goes sour. This prevents negotiators from entering into a detrimental deal. Students should take this tip from top negotiators by bearing being clear on their BATNA.

Imagine a student seeks to go to their dream school. However, the ideal school costs a great deal more than a acceptably-ranked university where the student received a significant package of scholarships and aid. The student should think what price difference is worthwhile to go to their ideal school over their second choice. If the financial aid package negotiations are going poorly and the ideal school refuses to budge, the student can rest easy with an affordable and acceptable alternative awaiting them.

Establishing a BATNA can help negotiations in a number of ways. If the student shows up desperate to go only to their chosen college, with no secondary offers in mind, the college can usually sense the student’s desperation, and so can have a reduced incentive to lower lend more cost support. With a strong BATNA, the student can feel more confident in having a beneficial strong alternative, no matter the outcome of the negotiation. This allows the student to approach the negotiation with ease and creativity around potential solutions. A strong BATNA also increases leverage at the negotiation table. If the school really would like to see the student join its incoming class, the school will be less likely to play hardball knowing the student has other, more competitive offers.

With these three negotiating tips, based on skills taught in world-class negotiation workshops, students can play a key role in determining their own academic future. These guidelines will empower students to get a great deal which allows them to attend a dream school — at a price the student can handle.

Byline: Building online visibility for the Negotiation Training Experts is Lilou Hoffman’s talent and passion. Her experience in working with sales professionals has given her key insights, essential when it comes to writing instructive and practical posts.

How To Use Technology To Enhance Your Educational Experience


Technology can enhance your college experience by improving how you study and organize. There’s an endless list of gadgets, apps, and hacks to help — many you’ve never considered. For example, if you’re a visual learner, watch documentaries when researching a history paper. Or get an alarm clock that forces you to take a picture of something before it shuts off. That actually exists. And so do these other technologies. Use them to help make college more than you expected.  

Time Management

Recycle those tree-killing notebook planners from high school. Instead, go digital with an online student planner. Shrinking your carbon footprint is only a bonus. Use digital planners to sync schedules and notifications across mobile, laptop, and desktop. Track assignments, classes, and upcoming homework wherever you are — studying at the library or socializing at the football tailgate.

Project Management

Use project management systems like Trello (a.k.a.Kanban boards) to take your class assignments to the next level. Trello boards are highly-visual, easy-to-use. Businesses use them all the time to manage their many projects, and you can too. Trello boards to keep track of large and small class assignments — like individual assignments — or share your boards with other students and professions for larger, collaborative projects.


Trello boards let you know at-a-glance where you’re at in each step of the process. Assign your projects a due date. Then create all the steps in your process (e.g. “Outline”, “First Draft”, “Review”, Second Draft”, etc.). As you progress, move your assignment cards forward after you’ve completed each step.

Roommate Finder

Nothing affects your college experience more than a roommate. Their sleep schedule, dietary habits, and study hours can keep you awake, hungry, and distracted. But they do pay their half of the rent…usually. So, be careful when choosing your house or dorm mate. Use a roommate matching software like RoomSync to find the perfect match. Use them to create customized questionnaires to match your lifestyle, schedules, or language.


Taking Notes

College classes bring a plethora of dates, times, facts, ideas, and other things to remember. Note taking apps can help relieve the stress of remembering. Don’t try and remember everything. Instead, get it out of your head and record it somewhere in the cloud. Then, you can access your notes and reminders from any device. That’s how you remember things, whether it’s your mom’s birthday or the date of the Battle of Hastings.


Technology simplifies studying by making it customizable and accessible. Most traditional study resources like CliffsNotes have moved online. And study aids like flashcards are now completely customizable.  Plus, there are now online study platforms for entire communities of students. These new platforms crowd-source resources like guides, notes, and quizzes. And they offer many study support from other students. They’re a valuable support system for students now solely responsible for their academics.

Writing Compositions

Having trouble in your Composition 101 class? Today’s writing tech can help. We’re all used to seeing those red, underlined squiggles that tell us we’ve misspelled a word. But writing apps like the Hemingway Editor keeps an eye out for larger issues. It monitors for passive voice, run-on sentences, and weak adverbs. You know… those issues that annoy your high school English teacher. Use Hemingway Editor to edit your own work. Or use it for peer review projects. It saves times by identifying problem areas for your writing partner too.


Use technology to make your class projects look more professional and impressive. Microsoft’s presentation platform Sway lets you create and present slick, cinematic presentations. These include books reports, portfolios, and online resumes. Sway has a robust library of premade templates and Creative Commons images. No more Google image searches and author attributions. The design app is free to use and comes with a Microsoft Office 365 subscription.

Tech Over-Reliance

Students can use technology to enhance their college experience, but only if they don’t rely too much on it. Addiction to technology is real. And it contributes negative experiences, especially for your social interactions. So be responsible with your tech use.


Texts and emails won’t teach you all the social skills face-to-face socializing does. These interpersonal skills are valuable for more than finding a significant other. They’re essential to starting and maintaining your career. While in school, you’ll need to practice conversing with teachers, students, and faculty. Social practice forms the interpersonal skills and networks you need for your career. So, while technology can enhance your educational experience, don’t let it counteract the moments that make college so memorable.

Brandon Jarman is a freelance writer based out of Salt Lake City. He is passionate about all things technology, education, and personal finance. When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with his family and hiking.

How to Create The Best College Class Schedule


Impressions count a great deal in a college setting. The student who arrives early for class, sits in the front row, and remains engaged may garner positive vibes from professors. Peers also take note of a responsible student. Showing up late for class — or, worse, cutting class — doesn’t cast anyone in a favorable light. Allow these points to motivate you to devise the best possible class schedule. Putting together a workable and smart class schedule supports better attendance and overall productivity. Here are some ways to come up with a workable schedule.

Stick to Your Natural Preferences

If you are a morning person, sign up for morning classes. Conversely, night owls won’t find it easy to wake up at 7 AM to attend an 8 AM class. Granted, circumstances could be out of your control forcing you to attend classes at less-than-optimal times. Such a problem won’t likely exist with every selection for a class time though. Whenever you can pick the most beneficial time for a class, do so. This way, you dramatically increase the chances of attending class regularly. A haphazard schedule that fails to work to your strengths may lead to troubles.

Don’t Schedule Too Many Classes Back-to-Back

The straight 90-minute classes could end your day by noon. The idea of having the rest of the day off seems near perfect. Relatively quickly, you may discover 270 nearly straight minutes of classroom lectures becomes a bit much. The brain experiences a bit of an overload as you find yourself becoming tired and sluggish. The final 90-minute class is just as important as the first one. If you can’t give every class the proper attention, you will suffer the unintended consequences.


The wiser plan entails giving yourself an appropriate break between classes. The lull doesn’t need to be excessive. As long as you have enough time to recharge and calm the mind, it could be enough. Maybe you should schedule exercise time during the day to break things up. Just do something to provide the mind — and body — with some desirable rest.

Keep Your Belongings in Order

No matter how well you plan out your schedule, you’ll run late when you lack organization. Put everything into its appropriate place so you don’t fish for things when the time comes to run to class. Set your clothes, class materials, and other necessary items aside the evening before class. This way, the morning runs smoother. Perhaps moving not-immediately-necessary things out of your room makes sense. Renting college storage space to put belongings inside reduces dorm room clutter. A storage facility comes with easy access to renters. So, there won’t be any issues when the time comes to retrieve things.

Book Classes Long Before the Semester Commences

The more classes and class times you have to choose from, you easier it becomes to craft the best possible schedule. When the time comes to sign up for next semester’s classes, select and register for classes right away. The longer you wait, the fewer spots remain in available courses. In time, classes reach their capacity and close up. Once this occurs, you may find yourself forced into choosing a less-than-desirable schedule.


Mere inconvenience won’t be the only problem you face with a demanding schedule. You could find yourself in a tight schedule that makes solid academic performance difficult Book classes early, and things likely will go smoothly.

Avoid an Overbooked Schedule

Taking too many credits per semester might leave you with little breathing room. While you don’t want to take so few that you delay graduation, failing courses won’t speed diploma time up. Only sign up for the number of credits you can actually handle. Otherwise, the semester could turn out impossible to manage.

Jessi is a recent college grad and has spent most of the last year building her clientele base for her health and fitness business. In addition to running her business, she loves writing and sharing her life experiences with others.