You don’t have to dip into your bank account to get help with your study skills. The Internet offers myriad free study aids, both on websites and in mobile apps, to help you nail your next test and gain better command of the material. Try out a few of these free options to super-charge your study efforts this semester.

Quizlet: Create Helpful Quiz Sets for Free

A 15-year-old student created Quizlet for his own study purposes and eventually grew it into an online study tool that millions of students use every day. You can play games, create flashcards, and create unique quiz sets to help you maximize your information intake and absorption. Teachers even use Quizlet to augment their lectures in the classroom. College students can find plenty of value in Quizlet, but it also benefits children in elementary, middle school, and high school. If you prefer to study socially, use Quizlet with your friends and classmates to make it more interesting.

iStudiez Lite: Get Organized for Success

If you have trouble building strong study routines, let iStudiez Lite help you get organized and develop healthy habits. It’s an organization app for college students that works on iOS (try Studious as an alternative for Android users). The pro version costs $2.99 but the free app offers plenty of value, enabling you to schedule tests, assignments, meetings, and other important obligations. You can also use iStudiez Lite to remind you to attend to a scheduled task by setting an alarm. Whether you stay out too late partying, or you forgot about a project due tomorrow, alarms can save you from last-minute scrambling. The more you use the app, the better your study habits will become.

Evernote: Keep Your Notes & Clippings in One Place

When you save your lecture notes as a different file after every class or accidentally drop a binder full of loose-leaf handwritten notes, your study prospects take a nosedive. Evernote allows you to organize your notes and clippings in one place. Search for specific notations, capture notes from the Web, and share your notes with study partners. The basic version is free while upgrades add more functionality, such as email compatibility, password protection, and version support.

ExamTime: Expand Your Study Aids

From flashcards and mind maps to quizzes and progress tracking, ExamTime offers all the study tools you need in one convenient app. Use the study planner to organize your progress toward an upcoming quiz or test, then brainstorm for an essay with the mind-mapping tool. You can also use ExamTime in groups, whether you’re working on a project with other classmates or organizing a study session for finals. Share and compare study study tools so everyone has the best opportunity to succeed in class. You can even take quizzes at the same time to add a competitive edge to your studying workflow.

Study tools don’t have to be expensive to buy or difficult to use. These free apps and websites will help you maintain great grades and help you learn effective study habits.


An internship offers the chance to gain valuable experience and insight into your chosen career field, all before you graduate from college. However, just like many aspects of education and business, internships have changed greatly in the last few years. While traditional opportunities still exist, the virtual internship has gained popularity.

Defining the Virtual Internship

A virtual internship is similar to the regular variety except that you participate remotely. You’ll use your computer to complete your scheduled tasks for the employer and to stay in touch. You don’t have to report to a physical location; instead, you complete your internship off site. If you think this might offer the best approach for you, consider these factors before you sign up.

1) Will Your Career Aspirations Align With a Virtual Environment?

Some industries seem built for virtual internships. According to Hack College, positions in sales, marketing, and information technology lend themselves to remote internships. However, if you’re planning to work in manufacturing or film-making or sports medicine, virtual internships are not likely the best fit. Think about the tasks you will complete in your future career. Do they require a hands-on approach or can you accomplish them remotely? Answering this question will help you decide if a virtual internship will provide the right match.

2) Will a Virtual Internship Cause You to Miss Out on Important Benefits?

An in-person position offers many benefits for college students. For instance, if you’re studying languages in anticipation of a career as a foreign diplomat, you might get more value from an internship abroad. By traveling to another country, you’ll enmesh yourself in that culture and learn about the ins and outs of travel, both of which will inform (and perhaps enhance) your future career. Other benefits of an in-person internship include the ability to interact with colleagues, the opportunity to build networks, and the chance to test yourself in a professional environment. Compare the pros and cons of virtual internships as you make your decision.

3) What Type of Employer Do You Want to Work For?

In today’s world, you have to consider many different factors when applying for jobs. For instance, if you want to work in the private sector, do you envision yourself working for a small start-up in a bohemian loft or for a major multinational corporation in a skyscraper or for a mid-sized business in an office park? Maybe you’d prefer to work in the public sector, perhaps for a government agency or a non-profit or a political action group. Use your aspirations to inform your choice of internships. Many of the companies that offer virtual positions are small or young companies with limited liquid capital and a finger on the pulse of technological advancements. If this sounds like your ideal situation, maybe a virtual internship will offer the best environment.

4) What’s Your Personality Type?

College students perform well in virtual internships when they crave solitude and quiet. If you’re an introvert who is self-motivated and requires little management, consider the virtual route. However, if you thrive on human interaction, high levels of activity, and close direction, being on site for an internship is probably your best option.

Whether you’re looking for a full-year or summer internship, virtual options add another level of flexibility to your choices. Consider all internship options to ensure you have the best opportunities in preparation for your future career.


When you’re a college student, money’s tight and the “broke college student” stereotype is entirely true. College towns often offer plenty of opportunities for part-time and full-time employment, but on-campus jobs might provide the best solution. Here’s why on-campus jobs can be awesome.

1) They’re Schedule Friendly

The local fast-food joint or clothing store doesn’t know where you spend your non-working hours nor do they likely care. Consequently, those employers might not offer student-friendly schedules, especially when finals are rapidly approaching or you pick up a class mid-semester. Julie and Lindsey Mayfield of U.S. News & World Report point out that on-campus employers often take into account each employee’s specific schedule. You might work shorter-but-more-frequent shifts, for instance, to accommodate your class-and-study schedule. On-campus jobs might also leave more room for extracurricular activities.

2) They’re Convenient

Many students head to college without reliable transportation. If you don’t have a car on campus, an off-campus job might prove difficult to work into your schedule, even if you live in a city with public transportation. However, if you work on campus, you can probably walk to the workplace and eliminate that wrinkle. Plus you’ll save on gas and you’ll get some exercise and fresh air. Triple win.

3) You Get to Meet Faculty, Staff, and Your Peers

Part of the college experience revolves around creating connections with students and faculty. If you work outside of school, you leave the campus environment for a significant portion of your day, which could lead to missed opportunities. An on-campus job keeps you interacting with the people most connected to you and it enables you to enjoy a rich social experience. According to USA Today, many students enjoy fuller social lives when they have on-campus jobs. Also, every interaction is a chance to make a good impression on someone who may be your professor next term or your bestie or sig other down the road.

4) You Gain Real-World Experience

An on-campus job offers a safe-and-reassuring environment in which to gain real-world experience. You’ll learn how to function effectively as a co-worker and employee but still within a familiar atmosphere. This enables you to stretch your wings without worry. You might even find a job that aligns with your college major. It’s the perfect stepping stone to the outside world of work and you’ll get a sense of your work style and strengths and areas for improvement.

Finding an On-Campus Job That Meets Your Needs

On-campus jobs can prove competitive, especially at large universities. You might have to put in several applications before you find a job you’ll enjoy. If you’re desperate for work, look for jobs that aren’t as attractive as others, such as in food service or the mail room or grounds crew. Your experience with that job might make you more attractive later on as you apply for more-desirable jobs that might take longer to obtain.

You can also ask other student workers to recommend you. A personal referral often speaks louder than a resume that looks like everyone else’s. Leveraging your on-campus network can prove extremely valuable as you look for employment.

On-campus jobs are an excellent choice if you want to make a little money (or apply earnings to your tuition) and enjoy the full college experience at the same time. Check with your school’s career services department if you’re not sure where to start.


College is a time for exploring your options and discovering your passion. Sometimes, though, pursuing that passion might mean that you have to change majors. This isn't uncommon; about three out of four college students change their major at some point during their educations. However, before you take the leap to another major, be sure to consider the consequences of doing so.

The Cost of Changing Course

Thoroughly examine the course requirements of the major you're considering switching to. How many extra semesters will you have to spend in school to fulfill those requirements? Each of those additional credits comes with a price tag. Some colleges even have an “excess hours credit rule,” which means they charge more for courses that will keep you in school significantly longer than students who never change their major. Talk to your counselor about the new major you want to take on, and be sure you understand any added fees that come with switching. The more often you switch your major, the more likely you are to hurt your bank account. You also have to consider not just the cost of the classes themselves, but also the extra money you'll have to spend on class materials such as textbooks.

The Best Time to Switch Majors

Simply put, if you're going to change your major, you should do it as soon as possible. According to CollegeTransfer.net, “If you are within your first 60 credits, you have a better chance of moving your credits and course work around to other majors or programs of study than if you are already taking major or upper level courses you no longer have interest in nor may the credits be applicable when you change your major.” If you are beyond the first 60 credits of your degree, compare your current courses with the requirements for your new major. The more overlap there is, the cheaper the switch will be.

How to Mitigate the Costs of Switching

If you decide that switching majors is the right option for you, be careful how you go about it. If your current school does not offer the required courses for your new major, you will have to spend extra time and money on applying to other schools and going through the hassle of transferring your credits. It is best to stick with your current school. You can also investigate scholarship opportunities within your new major. Some scholarships are specifically geared toward certain career tracks. Also, since each change to your major results in extra expenses, perform thorough research about the major you want to switch to. Interview other people who have the same major or who entered a career after completing that major. Learn all you can so your next major switch is your last one.

Changing majors is a big decision, and it isn't a cheap one. Before you commit to a new major, carefully consider the financial consequences as well as your personal feelings. You don't want to have any regrets about your decision.


What's for dinner? If that question makes you think about the packaged ramen waiting in your dorm room, don't fret. Ramen isn't the only food you can cook if the sole appliance you have access to is a microwave. Check out these tasty microwave-friendly foods that will get you out of your ramen rut.

Quesadillas

Quesadillas are both simple and delicious. Buy some corn or flour tortillas, add some shredded cheese, and microwave to hot cheesy goodness. For variety, try different blends of cheeses. Use your favorite salsa to give your meal a bit of spice and sneak in some vegetables. The protein in the cheese will power you through those late-night study sessions.

Pasta

Ramen is a noodle but it’s not pasta. Mix up your dinner routine with the real thing. Bring water to a boil in a microwave-safe bowl. (Glass and ceramic are good choices; avoid plastic, as it may melt.) While the water is very hot, add noodles of your choice, cover the container, and wait for the noodles to cook. You might have to pop the container back in the microwave to keep the water sufficiently hot. Once the noodles are tender, drain them and pile on your favorite pasta sauce.

Rice

Rice, particularly brown rice, is a healthy grain that is a good choice for folks who are trying to eat well on a college budget. Some companies sell rice in a bag that is ready to go for microwave cooking; simply follow the instructions. You can also cook other kinds of rice in the microwave. Put water, butter, and rice in a small casserole dish and pop them in the microwave on high for about five minutes. Stir, and then cook on medium for another 15 minutes.

Frozen Meals

The meals you find in the freezer aisle at the grocery store get a bad rap for being tasteless and unhealthy. There are healthy and tasty choices available; just take the time to read the labels to find options that will give you the nutrients you need. If a meal is too bland for you, liven it up with cheese, extra veggies, or seasonings.

Boneless Chicken Breast

If you want lean protein, buy some fresh boneless chicken breast. Place the breast in a glass casserole dish and add enough water so it is half-submerged. Cover it with plastic wrap and microwave on high for about four minutes. The cooking time depends on the size of the breast. Check to make sure the meat is cooked all the way through, but also be careful not to overcook it; you don't want the breast to become so tough you can't eat it. Pair the chicken with some rice, and you have a healthy and filling meal!

Bacon

When you're in the mood for some meaty salty deliciousness, put a couple of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Lay some sliced bacon on the paper towels, making sure that the slices don't overlap. Cover the bacon with more paper towels, and microwave on high for about five minutes.

College students aren't doomed to eat ramen and cheap takeout. Try the above foods to add some variety to your diet.


1655900Happy New Year! And with the new year comes the new semester (yay!) and with that, well, getting textbooks (boo!) But this year, getting books doesn’t have to hurt. You don’t have to wait in lines, deal with crowded bookstores, lug tons of heavy hardcovers back to your dorm, or break your bank account.

Simply put, now is the time to buy books for spring semester. Order your books today so that you have the best chances of getting money-saving used textbooks delivered to you in time for school to start. If you wait, chances are that all that will be left are ridiculously expensive new books and you won’t have them in time for the first day of classes. What happens then? You’ve not only taken a financial hit, you’re starting on the back foot and having to catch up on the material.

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying or renting print books or downloading digital textbooks, we’ve got you covered by scouring dozens of booksellers and marketplaces and merchants all competing for your business. And to help you save even more, we’ve just added loads of coupons so look for that icon when you shop. Take good care of your books now so you can sell them for cash at the end of the term.


As winter break sets in, you’re probably planning the downtime. Will you organize your closet? Veg out in front of the television at your parents’ house? If you want to start next semester on the right foot, consider focusing on finances. A budget will help you keep your spending in line for the spring term.

Take Stock of Your Spending

Kristen Kuchar of The Simple Dollar recommends reviewing your finances from last semester. Did you rack up credit-card debt? Were you careless with impulse purchases? Find out how much money you have in the bank and where you’ll need to spend money before next semester starts.

Make a list of unhealthy financial habits you’ve developed, such as springing for restaurant meals instead of using your dining card on the pre-paid meal plan. Make a list of changes you want to make so you have more cash in your pocket before next summer.

Analyze Finance Apps

If you’re not fond of spreadsheets and ledgers, there’s an app for that. Look for either free or paid budget apps that allow you to track your income and expenses electronically. If you see where your money goes, you can better control your spending, especially if you’re prone to whipping out plastic every time something catches your eye.

Use the app to set budgeting goals and track your progress. Some apps allow you to sync the software with all of your devices or back up your information to the cloud. Look for an app that aligns with your financial goals and habits so you’re more likely to use it.

Build a Viable Budget

Now that you have the tools you need, get to work on your budget. Allocate a certain dollar amount to each of your expenses, from necessities like utilities and car insurance to niceties like entertainment and fashion accessories. Use the review you conducted of last semester’s finances to find places to shave spending.

The best budgets include at least a small cushion for savings. Even if you only transfer $5 per week into your savings account, you’ll finish the year with $260 that you don’t have now. Use that money only for emergencies so you always have a fallback for financial hardships.

Don’t Forget About the Future

A budget isn’t a static tool. It changes constantly based on your needs and circumstances. A short-term budget that covers just the spring semester leaves you room for adjustments down the road. Maybe you’ll get a seasonal job that improves your finances this summer or perhaps you’ll encounter an unexpected expense. Budgeting now will help you adjust as necessary.

As time passes, revisit your budget and make changes as needed — as long as those changes don’t coincide with your sudden desire to splurge or be wasteful. The more you work with your budget, the better you’ll understand your own habits and how to make small changes that can save you a lot.

While focusing on your finances might not seem like an exciting way to spend your winter break, it sets you up for a great spring semester. You’ll return to school with cash in your pocket and a plan for success.


Nothing collegey this week, just our very best wishes to you and yours for a joyous holiday season. If you’re traveling, be safe. If you’re hosting, don’t forget to enjoy your own party. If you find yourself with a little extra time, take a moment to be mindful of your good fortune and consider volunteering for a few hours with others who may be struggling. And no matter what you do and how you celebrate and with whom, know that we appreciate you and we thank you for a wonderful 2015.

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It’s that time of the year: finals, holidays, travel, family, and a whole slew of stuff that can stress even the most-chill of souls. Sure it’s time to push hard and wrap up this year feeling solid about school and studies and campus activities but there is a very real danger of pushing too hard and burning out. Burnout can leave you unprepared for finals and unable to enjoy your time at school or to fully relax on break. It can also take a serious toll on your emotional well-being and your physical health and immune system. Many students experience burnout as they cram for exams or prepare elaborate projects. If you’re at risk of burning out, put these seven strategies into practice.

1) Take Care of Your Health

If you don’t take care of yourself, your burnout symptoms will become even more pronounced. Writing for Seattle PI, Ralph Heibutzki emphasizes the importance of getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, and participating in physical activity. When you combine this magic three of self-care, you’ll find yourself better prepared to face psychological and emotional challenges as well as physical hurdles. You’ll also generally feel better all around.

2) Refine Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

If you set goals that you can’t realistically achieve, you may experience burnout because of scrambling for the unattainable and your subsequent disappointment and perceived failure. To avoid this problem, set practical goals that reflect your skills, abilities, and available time. Revisit your goals on a regular basis to determine whether you need to change them. For instance, if you experience burnout signs right before a test, you might need to start studying sooner so you have more time to devote to it.

3) Avoid Other Stressors

Sometimes academic burnout becomes exacerbated by other stressors in life. To avoid burnout, make sound financial decisions, surround yourself with positive people who help you bring out your best, avoid conflict with peers and teachers, and don’t poison your system with excessive alcohol (a known depressant). You’ll free up more time and energy to focus on academic pursuits and nail this semester.

4) Reduce Distractions

Streaming TV and movies, being active on social media, and taking a million online tests and quizzes can be distracting. Sure, they all have a time and a place but now is not that time as before you know it, you’ve just binge-watched all of the Fast and Furious movies and been told by BuzzFeed that the vegetable you most resemble is an eggplant. None of this is going to help you on that sociology exam tomorrow. Instead of falling prey to media distractions, focus on activities that help you feel more calm and in control. You’ll have more time to study and you’ll waste less time on activities that drain your brain.

5) Better Manage Your Time

If you eliminate distractions from your life, you’ll find it easier to manage your time wisely. It’s also important to set up a schedule for studying, working, relaxing, and sleeping. Fit it all into your daily routine so you don’t feel like you’re losing control of your priorities. Once you find your time-management groove, you’ll establish a routine that will see you through the times when burnout is a real threat.

6) Find a Support System

Whether you you FaceTime with your mom for three minutes every morning or you organize a weekly lunch with your best friends at school, you need a support system. If you start feeling burned out, it helps to turn to a compassionate ear. The right friends, family members, or even professors can provide valuable advice and guidance so you don’t feel as though you’re facing these challenges alone. You don’t have to go all TMI but do try to open up to someone you trust and who has your best interest in mind.

7) Seek Professional Guidance

There is nothing wrong with seeing a counselor or therapist to help you deal with burnout. A professional knows the tools and resources that can help you minimize stress in your life and achieve your goals at the same time. Most college campuses have counselors on staff to meet with students. Alternatively, you could see someone privately off campus. There is no shame in asking for help. In fact, doing so is a sign of strength.

College and burnout often go hand in hand. Being aware of the signs and triggers allows you to anticipate problems and recognize the symptoms before things get out of control and you find yourself panicked or totally unprepared. If you are prone to burnout, don’t suffer in silence. Instead, find proactive ways to help yourself cope then seek support and guidance from others who can provide helpful (positive but honest) feedback.


You’re in college, which means you live on a tight budget . . . but you still want to surprise your friends and family members with cool holiday gifts. It’s not an impossible feat, but you’ll need to get creative with your gift ideas. Follow these tips to ensure a happy holiday season full of the joys of thoughtful giving.

Reference a Memory

Some of the most powerful gifts remind the recipient of a cherished memory. If you and your best friend had the time of your lives at Mardi Gras last year, for instance, you could gift a bundle of colorful beads and hand-decorated framed photograph of the two of you in the French Quarter. Think about small, inexpensive objects that will inspire a laugh, a tear, or an exclamation like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you remembered that!”

Play to the Recipient’s Passions

People love to receive gifts that honor their hobbies and passions — even if those gifts don’t come with a high price tag. Does your sister love fashion? Maybe you can’t afford haute couture but consider giving her a subscription to Vogue magazine. Does your father play golf? Pick up a box of his favorite golf balls.

Take the DIY Approach

You don’t have to look much further than Pinterest to know that people love do-it-yourself projects. Think about ways you can DIY a piece of art or a craft you saw in an expensive catalog. You could also combine this tip with the last one — make something that aligns with the recipient’s hobbies. Is your aunt a foodie? Create a bundle of printable recipe cards just for her.

Shop in Advance

Regardless of an item’s quality or size, you don’t want to overpay. To get the best deal on your gifts, shop before you ever leave the house. Prop your laptop on your dorm-room bed and do your best impression of a private investigator. Compare prices at three or four stores so you know what to expect. If it’s cheaper online, place your order without worrying about your wallet.

Snag a Coupon

Before you start your holiday shopping spree, look for coupons associated with all the stores you intend to visit. Even if it offers just five percent off, your bank account will benefit. If you’re shopping online, look for free-shipping deals. Alternatively, buy most of your gifts from the same outlet so you can take advantage of free-shipping offers for orders that total more than a certain price point.

Get in the Kitchen

Maybe your dorm room doesn’t have an oven and a stove, but if you’re heading home for the holidays, bring your apron. Make your gift-list recipients brownies, cookies, or another sweet treat. Put your frugal college-eating habits to work as you shop for ingredients. Put the edible goodies in disposable, holiday-themed containers to finish off the gifts.

You don’t have to sink yourself in debt to pay for holiday gifts for your friends and family. The people you love understand that you’re living on a college-student budget, so focus on the thought behind the gift instead of the gift itself. And add a handmade card just to take that gift to the next level.