Posts published in February, 2019

Sleep Science – How and Why Some Students Sleep Better than Others Do?



There are many factors that influence the quality of one’s sleep, but nonetheless, a night of quality sleep is highly important. There have been multiple studies that show that when the body is sleep deprived, terrible effects may occur. According to the National Institute of Health, almost 70 million Americans suffer from a form or another of sleep disorders. These sleep disorders damage the health of the patient, in the long run, resulting in a series of conditions. Besides, the sufferer’s alertness levels decrease significantly. Some of the conditions associated with poor sleep are diabetes, stroke, depression, heart disease and other conditions with a fatal potential. Below are some of reasons and factors that contribute to sleep quality, according to experts.

The science of sleep

Certain factors influence the quality of our sleep enormously. Some are empirical pieces of evidence, others are proven by science and multiple studies in the field. Below are some of the most important factors that influence the way in which we sleep.

  • Your body;
  • Your sleeping environment;
  • Your mind.

Taking care of all the above coordinates will surely help you improve the quality of your nighttime sleep. Below we will teach you how to improve your sleep with some easy steps and adjustments.

Take care of your body

How you feel influences enormously the quality of your sleep. Many experts say that exercising is one of the simplest ways in which you can improve your sleep. Exercising reduces stress and anxiety and promotes a better mood. However, you should avoid rigorously exercise in the last 3 hours before going to bed. Apparently, people who regularly exercise have higher chances to fall asleep relatively fast. They also report feeling generally better than sedentary people.

The environment matters

If you think that a comfortable mattress and a comfortable pillow won’t make you fall asleep faster, you’re wrong. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary and you should treat it like one. Make sure to create the perfect environment for sleep. According to experts, you should set your temperature somewhere between 65- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible when sleeping. And most importantly, invest in high-quality mattresses. Learn how can you get the best mattress for you and your own needs. It might sound funny, but the preferred sleeping position influences enormously what type of mattress you should purchase. Shop for a mattress manufactured from anti-allergenic materials. This will help you sleep better during those hot summer months. Research the local market and see which one of the mattresses available seem to fit your sleeping habits better. Memory foam mattresses seem to be market leaders for consumers worldwide.

Be consistent

When you look forward to improving your sleep patterns, you can always look forward to bringing some consistency into your life. Try to go to sleep at approximately the same hour every day. You should also wake up at the same hour every day, as well.


By line for Linda Anderson

I’m a writer and musician residing in Boise, ID in the United States, although I spent a small amount of time (about three years) living in the UK growing up, due to my father’s occupation. I graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Business and a focus in marketing in 2014.

Student Loans: A Basic Guide



Student Loans: A Basic Guide

Only a small number of students are able to pay for college education and the fees related to this type of post-secondary education like supplies, books, and tuition as well as living expenses. But, this doesn’t mean that young people that don’t have money to pay these expenses should avoid college education. On the contrary, they have a few options, including student loans that can help them.

So, a student loan is a special type of loan which is designed for students that need financial aid in order to access and use higher education. According to some sources, there are more than 44 million Americans that have student loans.

How do student loans work?

Before we start explaining how student loans work, it’s good to know that there are two basic types of loans – federal student loans and private student loans. Most students are choosing federal student loans because it’s easy to get one and come with low-interest rates and fair terms. They are funded with taxpayers’ money. On the other hand, private student loans are issued by credit unions, banks, colleges, universities, and state agencies. Most banks have special student loan programs. In most cases, students opt for this solution when they are not eligible for federal student loans and when they need more money.

So, federal and private loans designed for students come with different characteristics, For instance, federal loans have fixed pre-determined interest rates while private student loans have variable or fixed interest rates. Private loans have specific repayment terms set by the financial institution.

Where to find the best student loans?

With so many interesting options out there, it’s quite logical to ask a question like this. The answer depends on a few different things, but generally speaking, there are a few options that have proven to be useful to thousands of students. In order to find the best student loans, you will have to conduct in-depth research with the help of the Internet. You can also use the experience of other students and ask your friends and family.

If you want to speed up things a little bit, then you can also use a comparison website like This is a website where visitors can read reviews and descriptions of the best student loans written by experts in this field. The best student loan in 2019 may be just a few clicks away when you are using websites like this.

Why take a student loan?

It turns out that there is more than one good reason why students should consider taking student loans. We will use this basic guide to highlight a few of them.

You can get access to the college you’ve always wanted to enroll in

First and foremost, as you probably know, some colleges are more expensive than others. There are situations when students can join some colleges without getting a student loan, but they want to join another one even though they don’t have enough money. This is where student loans come into play. Some people may say that this is an expense that you can avoid, but don’t forget that you are investing in your future. In other words, this is a type of debt that pays off. In many cases, you can witness this right after you’ve finished college and you have a few offers for decent jobs.

Making a better credit score

Loans are not made just for students. In fact, there are many other types of loans and most people have at least one other type of loan in their lifetime. So, it’s a smart move to start building your credit score as early as possible. By taking a student loan, you will get a chance like this. Of course, you will have to pay the monthly installments on a regular basis, but this won’t be a problem for most students because the interest rates are low and there’s enough time to cover these installments.

Great repayment benefits

Due to the nature of student loans, many of them come with great repayment benefits. In most cases, these repayment benefits are associated with federal student loans, but it’s possible to find benefits like this in private student loans too. Basically, as a student, you may have a chance to postpone your payments for a month or two or even for a longer period of time. In some cases, you can also lower the amount of the monthly payment. Finally, there are situations when students were able to remove their debt. All these things make student loans a great tool in the hands of students.

Mistakes to avoid

In order to feel all the benefits of taking student loans and to avoid unpleasant experiences, you have to stay away from a few common mistakes. The following is a short list of mistakes to avoid.

Not reading the loan terms

You should never sign a student loan or any type of loan if you don’t understand how the loan works. In other words, you must be aware of all the loan terms before signing for a loan like this. Take some time and analyze the most important parts of the agreement like the repayment terms, a potential grace period, the penalties for late repayment, the type of interest rates (fixed or variable) etc.

Don’t borrow more than you need

Sometimes, you can borrow more than you actually need, but this is usually a bad decision. You need to be focused on getting the exact amount of money that you need to finish education. You can find extra funds by getting a job.

Not paying more when possible

If you want to save money, it is the best idea to pay more than you are asked for once you get the student loan. So, there’s no need for someone to remind you that you can pay more – you should do this on your own. In order to do this, you can use a tax refund, make interest payments even when you have not graduated yet and more.

Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.




Goal of getting more Americans through college is way behind schedule

Budget cuts, high tuition, public disillusion have slowed progress while employers struggle to find skilled workers

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at Macomb County Community College July 14, 2009 in Warren, Michigan. Obama set a goal of increasing the proportion of the population with degrees and certificates, and returning the nation to first in the world in this measure by next year. A decade later, progress has been slow.

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at Macomb County Community College July 14, 2009 in Warren, Michigan. Obama set a goal of increasing the proportion of the population with degrees and certificates, and returning the nation to first in the world in this measure by next year. A decade later, progress has been slow. 

When then-President Barack Obama stood before a friendly and enthusiastic crowd at Macomb Community College, near Detroit, 10 years ago this year, the goals he set out were — as the president himself said — historic.

Within a decade, he said on that day in 2009, community colleges like Macomb would collectively boost their number of graduates by five million. That would help return the United States to first in the world in the proportion of its population with the credentials needed to sustain an economy increasingly dependent on highly educated workers.

“Time and again, when we placed our bet for the future on education, we have prospered as a result,” Obama said in announcing his American Graduation Initiative

Now it’s 2019, and after federal and state budget cuts, spiraling tuition, political distraction and increasing public skepticism about the value of a higher education, the nation is far behind schedule in realizing this goal.

Obama called for raising to 60 percent the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees or certificates by next year; that number has instead crawled from about 39 percent to just under 48 percent. At this rate, the target won’t be met until at least 2041, the research arm of the nonprofit Educational Testing Service, or ETS, predicts.

And the United States remains stubbornly in 13th place in the world in the proportion of its 25- to 34-year-olds with degrees, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, behind South Korea, Canada, Japan, Russia, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway and other countries.

Related: How failing to get more Hispanics to college could drag down all Americans’ income

The repercussions of this could be as enormous as they have been overlooked, said Ted Mitchell, who was Obama’s undersecretary of education overseeing higher education.

“The polar icecap we’re seeing melting in higher education is right in front of us,” said Mitchell, who now is president of the largest national association of colleges and universities, the American Council on Education, and who compared the situation to the slow-moving impacts of changes in environmental policies.

“The real downside comes in 10 years or 20 years, when this incredible human capital engine that has fueled our economy over the last century starts to sputter,” he said.

It might not even take that long. Forty-six percent of American employers already can’t find the workers they need, according to ManpowerGroup.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says this is keeping 40 percent of businesses from taking on more work.

“That suggests that this is hindering growth,” said Cheryl Oldham, the chamber’s vice president of education policy and the former acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the George W. Bush administration, who remembers efforts to raise the proportion of Americans with degrees even before Obama tried to do it.

“We make a big announcement, we make a promise, then we move onto something else,” Oldham said.

The Trump Administration Department of Education did not respond to repeated requests to discuss this topic, and references to the American Graduation Initiative have been deleted from the White House website.

To produce more graduates, colleges first need students. But the number of students on the path to degrees is not up. It’s down.

Community colleges, which were the focus of the American Graduation Initiative, have in the last 10 years lost nearly 20 percent of their enrollment, the U.S. Department of Education reports. At Macomb Community College, Obama’s backdrop for his announcement, the number has students has fallen by more than 10 percent, state and college figures show.

Higher education institutions of all kinds have two million fewer students now than they did in 2009.

That’s partly because the number of 18- to 24-year-olds who comprise traditional college students is declining, even as an improving economy has drawn more people straight into the job market, without stopping to get degrees.

Related: New data show some colleges are definitively unaffordable for many

But federal and state budget cuts for higher education also haven’t matched the aspirations of ambitious targets like Obama’s; most of the $12 billion he promised to help community colleges fell through, and states are spending an inflation-adjusted $7 billion less on public universities and colleges than they did in 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That’s a cut of 16 percent, on average, pushing up tuition faster than family incomes,

Higher Education And Your Life Course After Graduation


 When individuals first enrol in college or university, it is a whirlwind of excitement, chaos, and uncertainty. The next three to four (if not more) years of one’s life are dictated largely by their dedication and ongoing efforts in their academic successes. Especially when one moves away from home to go to the school they want to go to, balancing everything can be one giant learning curve. Students not only have to maintain their studies, but many of them work as well, because the truth is that modern life (yes, even for students) is too expensive not to be working. It is a tough road to navigate, even to walk sometimes. The single best piece of advice that any higher education student will ever get is to treat their higher education experience like a course in itself.

Forging Lifelong Learning and Networks

Of course, the primary goal of higher education is to forge students into professional experts in their field, but more than that, higher education itself serves as the ultimate course. In what, you ask? Life after graduation, of course. The thing about college and/or university is that the students that make it through the rounds successfully are often the very same individuals who have no idea what their next step is after graduation. There is not necessarily anything wrong with this. What is important, however, is that students are made aware that they can – and should – use their time at college or university to build connections and begin to establish a reputation in their field.

Networking in university is much easier than when you have entered the workforce as people are generally more receptive towards students – relating to when they were once a student themselves. Doors open more readily and opportunities arise out of simple conversations. Every new contact which is added to one’s address book, brings with him a library of information, knowledge and experience. Take advantage of this. Getting to know the industry and its players as best you can, from all walks of life. As the saying goes: Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.

Furthermore, there is a slew of community clubs one can benefit from whilst in university: getting involved in cardinal service will not only build one’s repertoire and resume, it will also let you meet like minded people and build connections. From ladies in engineering to accessible education, there are over 600 student clubs at Stanford University that one may take advantage of. Even when you’ve graduated, you are also welcome to make use of the many alumni clubs out there and work them to your advantage.

Attaining Financial Independence

When it comes to the difficulties of savings, being a student can be an incredible way to adapt to the learning curve. Financial stability and security is something that is often difficult for many people to achieve, but it does not have to be. Being a student allows for the chance to study and work at the same time, effectively turning individuals into more driven, more responsible people. Students can save money while achieving independence, both skills that are especially handy after graduation. The reality is that students are often so busy, or so stretched for both money and time, that they are forced into a state of financial accountability. This is nothing but a good thing. Learned and practiced responsibility in all areas of life better prepares students for life in their fields come graduation.

A Final Note

Through financial accountability and academic responsibility, students who take both aspects of life in higher education seriously most often end up in the most advantageous of positions when it is time for them to pursue their careers. Through networking, financial independence, and academic success, students go on to become more well-rounded individuals. The single best piece of advice that anyone will give you as a student is to approach college or university as if it were a course in the evolution of life. In doing this, not only will students gain a stronger understanding of their own capabilities, but they will forge a substantial knowledge of how to navigate the next step in their lives – their career.


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 


Rediscover Yourself Through a Gap Year :After High School Or During College



Have you just been accepted to college, or you’re still considering whether to apply to perhaps take a different route, such as entering the workforce right out of high school? There are many options open to you right now. Maybe you need time to discover your interests, and figure things out. Maybe adventure appeals to you.

After twelve years of schooling, you might just need a break- some time to yourself, to consider what you really want out of life, and what direction you want to go in. Now’s the time to “find yourself”, as they say. Consider your options. I recommend a gap year travel program. It can be a very formative, inspiring, and instructive experience for young people.

Study Abroad

Do you want more work experience? Do you want to spend time abroad, discovering the world? A gap year program lets you go abroad, where you can live in a different culture, live and work among locals, socialize, eat the food, learn the language, and see the sights. Going abroad is a process, it requires applying and planning out which program you would like to participate in. It also means finding funding, sometimes getting a visa, and buying plane tickets. Then pack your bags and consider yourself a global citizen. Sometimes being abroad is a hard adjustment, especially if you do not speak the language or know the people. Stay open-minded and make sure that you stay engaged. By meeting new people and taking language courses, you’ll soon adapt. And afterwards, you’ll have a stronger sense of yourself and your abilities, which is invaluable at school, work, and in life in general. You’ll find that it is a very marketable trait, and potential employers or college admissions officers will notice that you had the initiative and wherewithal to go out into the world and explore for yourself. There are all sorts of programs to study abroad, and they range in length from a few weeks to even a year or two. Most people go for a couple months, however.

Gap Years While in College

If you have already started college, you can still consider a gap year program. Many schools offer programs or partner with other programs and offer credit to students who complete them. Many schools also allow for leaves of absence for these sorts of programs. Or you can always go abroad during summer or winter break, depending on your semester schedule.

Work Experience

Are you looking for something more than just time away? You might enjoy not only studying in a foreign country, but also gaining valuable work experience. Consider getting a volunteer position or internship abroad. This is excellent resume material, and great experience. When you intern abroad, take initiative and explore your career interests. Propose new ideas and get involved with your own research as well. Make yourself useful to the organization, and always be polite and inquisitive. Try to establish relationships with your supervisor. Think of them as your mentor. In the future, they may furnish recommendations for college, or for other programs and jobs.

Don’t forget to also explore the area, and spend time with new people. Don’t spend the whole time working! You’ll learn perhaps just as much by exploring the new country as through your work experience.

Future Confidence

It also gives you the confidence in future to travel and to consider future moves. It gives you the sort of daring to overcome future obstacles and take on future opportunities. You will also develop greater sensitivity towards different people, including people of different cultures. Your communication skills will be improved. You will be better also at living in different environments, and you will understand the effect of globalization. You also will have a lot of opportunities to expand your network and make connections in your future field. Even if you aren’t sure what that is yet, spending time abroad will help you develop perspective.

Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She has a passion for advanced learning, reading, and health and fitness. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on education, learning, health, fitness and yoga. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found at the local climbing gym or doing yoga.






The Gender Factor in College Graduation: Female Vs. Male Students


Over the years there has been a change to the number of males graduating from college versus their female counterparts, and 2018 collefe grad were about 58% female and 43% male

Past studies show, boys face numerous problems when attending high school and graduating college and the trend looks to be on the rise.

Some of the difficulties found among boy students involve reading, writing, and standardized testing. There are other noticeable factors, as well, but we are not sure exactly what causes the male versus female college grad rate.

Boys may lack motivation to be in high school or to complete homework, they participate in criminal activity and violence, as well as, face school expulsion, or end up dropping out of school altogether.

When the time comes for boys, who are now young men, to go off to college, many end up choosing a different route.

Whether it is due to the reasons listed or not, more and more young men are choosing to opt out of gaining a college education.

Female students, on the other hand, are continuing to succeed in secondary schools, causing the number of female college graduates to outnumber that of males, and there is no true sign of this changing any time soon.

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), show, in 1979, female students became the majority of students enrolled in post secondary schools, and for the past decade have accounted for approximately 58 percent.


Academic Preparation: Are Children College Ready?

Most parents believe when their child graduates from high school they are ready to move on to college, but this is not always the case.

In 2017, the Hechinger Report investigated forty-four states and found, a large number of public colleges report more than half a million of students, who enroll into their schools, are not ready for college-level work.

This is not only detrimental to the development and pocketbooks of many young students, their lack of preparedness for college is also taxing on government and college funds, costing billions of dollars of debt, each school year.

The numbers reveal there is a major problem with the education system, and that having a high school diploma does not automatically mean students are academically prepared for college.

The Era Of Technology: Is A College Diploma Still Relevant?

Today’s world is much different than it was ten years ago due to it being the era of technology.

People of all ages are definitely more tech-savvy and society’s dependence on various gadgets and devices has grown.

We live on a planet where Google has all the answers, Television shows make you an instant star, and where YouTube sensations exist– and none of these require individuals to be in possession of a college diploma.

Having a degree does not seem to hold the same value as it once did, which could be a sign to the start of the college diploma becoming irrelevant.

Along with technology, “experience” is replacing the need for secondary education. In fact, some employers accept it as “being” equivalent to having a college degree.

There is no doubt, some schools are experiencing a decline in the number of student enrollments, female vs. male attendees, academic preparedness, disruptive technology, and education relevancy, which all contribute to the decrease in the number of students graduating in America.

What does this say about where our future is headed, as it does lie in the hands of younger generations?

As we become more informed about how many young adults are not being formally educated, can we truly grasp the repercussions, which may come from this drastic academic change?

It is hard to say, but, in gaining this knowledge, we now have the ability to do something with it, and it requires us, as a society, to take action before it is too late.

For us to make a real difference in the education of our children, in raising the number of college graduates each year, and ultimately, improving the state of our future, the time for action starts now.

Drew Hendricks
Freelance Writer & CMO

Budget Management 101 for College Students


College students have been forced to be much more responsible toward their budgets in the past few years thanks to the increase in student loans and lack of campus jobs. While it might seem unnecessary to put together a budget to stick to at such a young age, the truth is that more and more university students have had to learn this skill earlier on. This can be useful when planning a year of study abroad or having extra cash for activities outside the classroom.

In fact, many expert cite having a budget as one of the best things young people can do in order to learn about properly managing their finances. “My simple budget gave me security, flexibility, and confidence while building mindful spending and other financial health skills that would pay dividends for the rest of my life,” writes Brett Whysel for Forbes.

While some knowledge students won’t take beyond their four years at university, having a clear idea of how much money they can spend each month is a skill that can follow them into their adulthood. Budgeting provides tools that can help students stay out of debt in the future, while teaching them what they can and cannot afford—especially if they graduate with a number of student loans. Since the cost of college tuition tends to rise every year, it is now more important than ever that young people have an idea of what the cost of their education will be and how they can afford payments once they are finished.

An article in Forbes states that a large amount of borrowers who have taken out loans for their college education have had trouble paying it back. In fact, up to 11% of former students end up defaulting on their payments. The article also comments that teaching budgeting at a younger age can often impart students the knowledge of how to handle larger payments in the future.

So how can you keep yourself from falling into the trap of defaulting on loans or finding yourself lacking funds during your semester or year abroad? Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take in order to prepare yourself for a life outside of school and the monthly payments you will have to pay when you are done.

Tracking what you spend is one of the simplest ways to acknowledge where your money is going. Once you have a general idea of what you spend each week on the necessities, such as groceries, transportation, and meals you might need to eat out, you can have a clearer idea of what you should put toward savings and fun. Even if you have some debts to pay, it is unrealistic to expect that you should not put any money away for the future or that you won’t be able to enjoy a night out with friends.

“It’s easy to spend money when you aren’t tracking your finances closely. Track every expense, even those paid in cash. There are now many banking and online auto save features that make it easier to have money deducted monthly to help you save,” mentions Nick Stamos in an article for Forbes.

Experts recommend that no matter what your financial situation is, if you can put away at least 10% of your income into savings, you are already ahead of most of your peers. Even if you are also paying back student loans, it is a good idea to continue to save for your future, as well. As you feel as though you are in a more comfortable financial position, you can start to add more each month. Regardless, contributing to your savings is an important part of budgeting that can be helpful to start learning early rather than to wait.

There are also a number of ways to keep track of what payments you have and which areas you can cut back on your budget. Software like a bitcoin wallet can be useful to track investments and savings, while even online payments like PayPal can be useful in showing you a list of transactions that have been completed. Being able to see where your money goes can be a useful feature and allow you to choose where you might be able to cut back on expenses. Several apps are also an option if you like having access to your finances in almost any location, and they can help you keep track of your basic payments.

Recent articles have commented that students do not have a grasp on basic finances, which can make transitioning from a school environment to a life with student loans much more difficult. However, budgeting allows young people to practice new skills with money before they have to make payments that will affect their lives in the future.


Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals



How Sobriety Can Help College Students Succeed


Alcohol has long been a part of college culture. In fact, federal health officials say more than 80 percent of college students drink. Of that 80 percent, about half say they binge drink. This can have a huge impact on the health, well-being, and academic success of college students.

“Everybody’s drinking to get drunk,” Dr. Sharon Levy, a pediatrician and director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital tells NPR. “Kids tell me this is how they socialize with friends.”

The college experience differs for everyone. Though some students are in environments where alcohol and binge drinking come secondary to their studies and social activities, many students find themselves in environments that encourage drug and alcohol use. While this behavior is simply part of the fun for some, it’s detrimental for others in terms of their health and academic success.


Because of the growing problem with substance abuse at the college level, some students are finding that it’s necessary to stay sober in order to stay on the right path and remain focused on their studies. In order to help college students stay sober and gain the associated benefits, some universities are adopting programs designed to help their students stay sober.

The Sobering Statistics

The college party scene is not just a trope used in movies and television. In fact, there is plenty of truth to the prevalence of party culture on campus. College is a time of transition for many young people and is often one of their first steps into independence as adults. It’s no surprise then that many struggle with their newfound freedom.

One 2017 study showed that alcohol use in college students is higher than in their non-college peers. Despite an initial downward trend on cocaine use in college students, it increased in 2014 and remained high in 2015. Another study showed that there is a correlation between daily marijuana use and an increase in alcohol use. Both studies indicate that over time, there are cognitive detriments and consequences to the health of individual students.

Not only is drug and alcohol use common in college, it’s also dangerous. Risky behavior can be synonymous with substance abuse including drinking and driving and impulsive decision-making. The high frequency of substance abuse in college has also normalized substance abuse for many students. This has made it even more difficult to identify addiction issues. For some, the party culture is just one aspect of college life, but for others it can derail their success.

The Benefits of Sobriety in College

Staying sober in college may seem like an impossible reality  for some students, but it’s very doable with the right resources and support, and there are multiple benfits to doing so. Staying sober in college has benefits that can help with academics, physical health, and long-term mental well-being.

Shifting focus from parties illicit substances to academics and studying will provide obvious benefits in terms of grades and participation. After all, college is not only important in terms of GPA and career options, but it’s also important in terms of personal growth and social surroundings. Staying sober in college can help in each of these areas and can create a pattern of positive behavior into adulthood.

Missing out on parties and hangouts may seem like too much to bare for the average college student in their late teens or early twenties, as typical college culture encourages partying and the use of substances. However, this isn’t’ necessarily how college has to be.

For those who are interested in sober living in college, there are a number of resources and tools available. First, students need to be able to find like minded peers who are in recovery or have made similar commitments to sobriety to use as a support system. Additionally, many colleges have programs and support systems that can help sober students can help students stay focused on academics, encourage a healthy lifestyle away from drugs and alcohol, and provide a way to find like-minded students who are also trying to stay sober.  

What Universities Can Do to Help

In 2017, 5.3 million young adults needed treatment for substance abuse. One in six of those students was of the average college age. When college culture is synonymous with alcohol and drug use, it can mean that young people who have addiction issues may feel they need to decide between their schooling and their sobriety. However, universities who offer solutions to the substance abuse culture that many colleges are known for can make a big difference for the students who need to stay sober. They also help with preventing substance abuse problems for students who don’t have issues with addiction but still prefer to stay sober.

One solution to this problem is the growing number of sober dorms or sober housing options for students. Some universities offer substance abuse recovery programs that not only focus on sober housing options but also sober social events and trips to help students find the social circle that aids in their sober lifestyle. In addition to that, some universities offer addiction recovery and mental health services on campus. Talking with a counselor or social worker who is trained in substance abuse can help college students be more successful in their sobriety. Recovery coaching programs and Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings specifically for college students can also a big help in providing assistance on campus.

For a young college student who is just venturing out on their own, it can be easy to fall into the college party culture and get lost in it. Poor grades, suffering mental health, and issues with addiction can easily follow. This is why experiencing college as a sober student is the only way that many students can get through it. Unfortunately, the ever-present party scene may make is seem like staying sober is impossible. However, the universities who are offering resources for these students are making the impossible possible. No student should have to choose between higher education and sobriety.

Bio: Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Northwest who is passionate about education and social justice issues. You can follow her on Twitter @HamiltonJori


Benefits of Inquiry-based Learning for College Students


Along with problem-based learning, inquiry-based learning introduces a new paradigm into the world of educational theory. Instead of perceiving students to be the recipients of knowledge in its complete form, it concentrates on them as on those who move the process of learning forward. Instead of making students listen to what teachers have to say, it prioritizes their questions and ideas, completely changing the traditional student-teacher dynamic. Students don’t take what they hear from teachers for granted. They use their own creative problem solving to reach a conclusion, which they have to defend using their own arguments.

But what are the specific benefits and advantages of inquiry-based learning for students? Let’s find out.

1.    It improves material retention

While inquiry-based learning is sometimes perceived as a harmful departure from the curriculum, it doesn’t have to be so. On the contrary – when the teacher knows what he is doing he will always be able to keep students close to the curriculum and encourage them to ask questions related to the material they are supposed to be studying. As for retention, inquiry-based learning is based on curiosity, and curiosity is known to activate the hippocampus – the area of the brain responsible for memory formation. In other words, the very fact that students feel interested in what they study makes them more likely to remember the material.

2.    It promotes initiative

The traditional approach to education emphasizes the passivity of students – they don’t take an active part in their own learning, they just wait for the right information to be given to them. Their success in learning the material is evaluated by how well they manage to repeat what they’ve heard.

Contrary to this approach, inquiry-based learning forces one to look for an answer independently, promoting initiative and self-direction. The student is more likely to make a well-informed decision concerning each part of work he does – for example, whether to hire an essay writing service to receive help from when dealing with a particularly obnoxious task or not.

3.    It improves understanding of the subject

When students come to the answer to a question on their own, through their own effort and inquiry, they achieve a better and deeper understanding of what they’ve been studying. In a sense, they take ownership of their learning, they feel more accomplished and proud of their achievement than in the case of merely receiving the answers from their teacher. It eliminates the possibility of a student simply taking the results received from the teacher for granted – he never follows the process he doesn’t fully grasp simply because he won’t achieve the result unless he fully understands every part of the process preceding it.

4.    It makes learning more rewarding

Inquiry-based learning creates an association between learning and achievement. Achieving an answer on one’s own is much more pleasant and rewarding than receiving a ready-made solution from somebody else. In the long run, inquiry-based learning helps creating a specific mindset that sees the reward in the act of learning and accomplishment itself, not in receiving praise and acknowledgment from teachers and parents.

5.    It helps utilize each student’s unique learning style

Traditional instruction is a one-size-fits-all affair, or at least it attempts to be one. It doesn’t take into account the differences between students. Inquiry-based learning, on the contrary, allows students to study on their own terms, using their own strengths. They can work on their own or in groups, discussing or doing research, using content types they are most comfortable with.

All in all, when it comes to students, inquiry-based learning is a significant step forward when compared to the typical approach to education.


Kathleen is a passionate entrepreneur and enjoys writing articles, overviews, and analyses about everything going on in the industry with a single goal of sharing her expertise with students. If you would like to get in touch with Kathleen, follow her @KathleenBrownn or email her at kathleen.brownnn@gmail

Breaking Barriers to College Math Success


Math is the most commonly used skill in the universe by both learned and unlearned people. Acquiring math skills is as important as students acquiring extended essay ib skills. Math skill is meant to be acquired in school, but it is ironical that most students do not learn it effectively in school. Students are taught to memorize while skills on how to effectively absorb what they learn are not administered. Most methods of learning used in schools are actually barriers to effective math success. The question on where students will ever use math in real life lingers across lecture halls. Math skills are always presented through life to solve work-related problems and real-world related problems. Some examples include

  1. In construction, you need to estimate project costs in terms of measuring lengths, width, and amounts of construction materials needed.
  2. In the grocery store, you estimate amounts of groceries needed and multiply by how many people and how long they will last. Check the weights and figure out discounts given, math skills come in handy in your shopping experience.
  • In the kitchen, math is present in measuring cooking ingredients, tuning the cooking time, not to mention conversion of units from ml to tablespoons and teaspoons.
  1. In traveling, calculate the amount of fuel you need based on the distance and the consumption of your vehicle per hour, and the total amount of time you will be traveling.
  2. Saving money too requires strong math skills. When kids are involved in math lessons early in life they learn how to spend and save without frustrations even later in life.
  3. When managing the most valuable asset time. Have your calculations right to determine how much you can accomplish over what period of time? The value of time is determined by how it is spent.

However, there are methods which have proven highly effective in breaking barriers to math success, and any other subject, through extensive research conducted on each method. These methods are tested to assess the ability to improve student’s learning abilities in learners across a wide age group.

Method 1: Practice Testing

The method has been in research for over 100 years proven highly effective as one of the best ways for the mind to retain information. Practice tests do not mean that you get into an exam room to take a test, but it is easily incorporated in the life of a student. The tests help the student target to test anywhere, with anything and at any time. The tests are done without the aid of books, but one uses objects to practice the math skills. At this point, the student is allowed to use their favorite objects or items they are comfortable with. This method is most effective when a time has elapsed between the learning and testing. Researchers have come up with three main reasons as to why this method works

  1. Practice tests trigger an elaborate process which is stored in your memory and is associated with math skills.
  2. The facilities or objects used are effective mediators of encoding different math problems by targets and cues.
  3. Practice tests constantly help the mind to organize information to increase efficiency and speed when retrieving the information.

Method 2: Visual Presentation of Math

Researchers and mathematics educators have encouraged teachers to engage students in visual representations in math, which has proved effective in math learning. Visual learning activates the brain’s reasoning skills by retaining information and understanding math concepts. A study conducted in 2013, discovered that effective learning is accomplished when different parts of the brain are used in learning. Visual math using symbols uses a different part of the brain while the spatial information uses another part of the brain. When the visual and symbolic methods are used in learning, there is an exchange of information between two parts of the brain which activate reasoning fully optimizing math skills. Students miss out on opportunities to increase their understanding if they do not enable their minds to use different parts of the brain at the same time.

Method 3: Distributed Practice

Math is a practical subject which uses the brain, meaning that you cannot cram. However, to effectively retain memory distributed practice is applied. This means dividing math studies into intervals over time, which is an effective method of absorption and retention. Distributed practice switches in between focused and diffused mode of thinking giving the mind time to absorb what it has learned during the focused time. Spaced study sessions are very important in remembering what your mind has captured.

Research conducted in 1979 with three groups of students who were put on practice distribution method of learning. The first group had 6 study sessions distributed with 30 days while the second group had 6 study sessions with 1-day intervals between each session. The first group had an exam administered after the 6th session as well as the second group. The first group performed very well in the exam compared to the second group who performed average. A third group did practice daily without any day, lapsing and had an exam administered after 30 days, they performed worse than the first two groups.

Most school learning programs will not give you the luxury of having few study sessions in a month it is recommended that distributed practice is spaced out at intervals of at least 24 hours from the learning sessions.

Method 4: Student Engagement in Tasks

Learning tasks engage students in reasonable effort and time. Research conducted in 2003, found out that instead of repetitive tasks for students, teachers should go over practice with their students then release them to work independently while they monitor the students and provide help where needed. In this method, real-time coaching, explanations, modeling among other forms of assistance which aid in the vigorous task engagement development in students are offered. The skills of engaging in challenging tasks are in balance supporting student’s autonomy and providing a great level of acquiring skills.

Method 5: Active Math Curriculum for Student

The active math curriculum has aspects which allow students to own the learning process and participate in mental stimulation. Teachers assume the role of facilitators as students learn using demonstrations, games, debates, projects, case studies, just in time teaching and talking to peers. It has become easy to integrate active math curriculum with the use of Ed-tools, which are active learning techniques. Students choose tools and activities to come up with concepts that will get them math answers. For example, when students are faced with a problem they watch a video on how to solve it, then discuss in groups and if they are stuck they ask the teacher for help. Their mindset is changed from I don’t get it, to, am stuck here and I need help. This allows them to deeply think of the concepts and feel the need to own the process and the problem.

Why is the success in math important? The University of California had conducted a study back in 2007, in which they concluded that strong math skills are crucial for a student later in life. Those who had strong math skills were successful academically with positive student behaviors with good literacy skills. There are many other proven ways to break barriers in math success, but importantly these methods should help absorb, retain and be fast to retrieve the information acquired. It is easy to monitor progress using any proven method and if one doesn’t work you can adjust to another until you are comfortable with the one that will help you ace my paper.


Bio: Bio: Sebastian Miller is a former Calling Lake School science teacher. After 4 years of teaching, he decided to become a freelance writer. In Sebastian’s opinion, math is the core of all science and his goal is to enlight as many schoolers as possible through writing