Eating well — that is, eating food that is healthy, tasty, environmentally responsible, and affordable — is a challenge anywhere, but it can be downright difficult and intimidating for college students who are limited by on-campus options, small kitchens, lack of cooking experience, and other constraints. Whether you live on campus or off, you’re actually better equipped than you might think when it comes to meeting the challenges of eating well while at college or university. Here are some facts, figures, tips, and tricks that will help you balance nutrition, flavor, and your budget.

Eating Well on a College Budget

From worries about the so-called “freshman fifteen” to the temptation of constant parties to the stress of late-night cramming sessions, college students often fail to balance the conflicting aspects of their lives. In fact, College Parents of America reports that 85 percent of college students experience daily stress. The solution lies in maintaining a healthy balance.

Set Aside Time Just For You

Whether you read a book in a local coffee shop or take a morning jog through campus, carve time out of every day for yourself. This is particularly essential for introverted college students who crave time away from the hustle, bustle, and din of campus life. If you can’t isolate yourself physically, bring an MP3 player and a set of headphones or visit a place on campus where you don’t know anyone. It’s all about finding your spot.

Create a Circle of Friends

Finding your tribe on campus helps you integrate into the school’s culture and find like-minded peers with whom you can exchange mutual support. Make a standing date with your pals so you stay connected even when course schedules and extracurricular activities pull you in opposite directions. Maybe you’ll go dancing every Friday night or have lunch on Wednesdays, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s a beneficial active done together and with some routine.

Pay Attention to Your Diet

Resist the temptations to skip meals get by on fast-food lunches and ramen noodle snacks. Instead, actively choose healthy alternatives when possible. Go for a salad instead of pizza in the dining hall or a bag of baby carrots instead of chips with your favorite dip. You’ll have more energy and feel more confident if you eat healthfully for most of your meals. If fellow students take part in unhealthy pursuits, including drugs or alcohol, steer clear of them. You are what you put into your body. Don’t fuel yourself with junk.

Find Your Ideal Study Zone

Do you study best while alone in your dorm room or surrounded by peers in the library? Do you remember more information after a morning cram session or a late-evening date with the books? Develop consistent study habits based on your learning style and preferences. Carry study gear, such as a small notebook and a pen, so you’re ready to make and check your notes or read the material on the spot and without delay.

Drop Classes If Necessary

New college students sometimes take more classes than they can manage. If you discover you’ve loaded yourself down too much, drop a class early in the semester. You can always sign up for it again next year. This doesn’t make you weak; it shows you can recognize your limitations and that you’re smart enough to adjust.

Learn to Say No

If the other kids in your dorm want to party on the night before a big test, feel comfortable saying no. Don’t overcommit socially or take on responsibilities you can’t fulfill. If you do, you’ll drown in obligations and burn yourself out very quickly. You don’t have to make up excuses or apologize for not participating. You don’t even have to give a reason, simply politely decline. During college, you must learn to take care of yourself first, especially since your college performance can impact your professional future.

Developing a healthy life balance in college might not seem essential, but it informs your entire education experience and your adult habits going forward. Whether you’re a brand-new student or a returning campus veteran, create sustainable habits that unite work, play, and rest.

You graduate high school, have an awesome summer, and then head off to college for four years, right? Not always. Today’s colleges host students of all ages and backgrounds. What accounts for the changing face of college and what unique challenges do these non-traditional students deal with?

College’s Shifting Demographics

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “In recent years, the percentage increase in the number of students age 25 and over who enrolled in degree-granting institutions has been similar to the percentage increase in the number of younger students . . . Between 2000 and 2012, the enrollment of students under age 25 and the enrollment of those age 25 and over both increased by 35 percent. From 2012 to 2023, however, NCES projects the rate of increase for students under age 25 to be 12 percent, compared with 20 percent for students age 25 and over.”

In some schools, students over age 25 already dominate the classrooms. During the 2013-2014 school year, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Minneapolis, MN; Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, AZ; and Charter Oak State College in New Britain, CT all had student bodies that were mostly comprised of people over 25.

Why Is the Shape of the Campus Body Changing?

There are several factors that contribute to the rising average age of college students:

  • Online programs make it easier for adults to fit an education around their everyday schedules.
  • Many schools have affordable financing options and online resources offer deals on textbooks and other supplies.
  • A rapidly changing job market impels some professionals to look for a new career.

It isn’t just older students that benefit from a return to school. Younger students can learn from their older peers’ life experiences and professionals who go back to school represent a golden networking opportunity for their fellow learners.

Challenges for Older College Students

Whether older students enroll in college because they want a career change or because they just finished military service and are eager to embark on civilian life, they face unique challenges. The Seattle Post Intelligencer listed some of these challenges:

  • Social interaction: While it is true that students over age 25 are increasingly populating campuses nationwide, older learners may still feel a little odd when they walk into an English 101 class that is full of people who could be their children or grandchildren.
  • Academic level: Some older students, thanks to life experience or personal learning, will be steps ahead of their peers. Other older students, however, may need some extra time to get back in the groove of an academic routine.
  • Schedule: Online programs make it possible to juggle a work schedule, school schedule, and family life, but some students will take a while to adjust to a routine that includes college courses and homework.
  • Confidence: Everyone faces some jitters on the first day of school, even students who obtained their high school diplomas decades ago.

College is no longer the sole domain of people in their late teens and early 20s. Schools across the country welcome older learners as more and more people realize that it’s never too late to go back to school and it may even be necessary.


Have you ever wondered which subjects are most popular in terms of undergrad degrees? How about which career fields are most closely connected to those majors? Or what starting salaries are like? How about where your own interest/major stacks up and what you can expect to do in terms of work? We’ve got the scoop on all of that and more.


Earlier this year, Virginia’s Sweet Briar College announced that it would soon close its doors. The wealthy women’s-only school first opened more than a century ago, and since then, thousands of women have gained a solid liberal arts education there. What are the underlying reasons for Sweet Briar’s financial woes, is it really in its last days, and what can we learn from this strange case?

Landmarks in Sweet Briar’s History

Outcries over the school’s potential closing are understandable; Sweet Briar played a small but important role in Virginia’s history. It was founded in 1901 on the grounds of Indiana Fletcher Williams’ estate. A landmark moment came in the 1930s when the school established a study-abroad program, making it a pioneer in international studies. In 1995, 21 of Sweet Briar’s buildings earned places on the Virginia Landmarks Register. The buildings are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic District. Of course, the school isn’t stuck in the past. In 2004, it established an engineering degree program, making it one of two women’s colleges in the nation to offer such.

Sweet Briar’s Dwindling Enrollment

As precious as history is, it cannot help Sweet Briar to adapt to changing times. Opinions abound about what contributed to the school’s financial woes, but at the root of the problem is insufficient enrollment numbers. The school is in a rural location, making it difficult for part-time students to attend. Furthermore, while some women’s colleges have chosen to welcome men as students, Sweet Briar remains a single-sex school. Some women view this as an old-fashioned arrangement and feel they would miss out on some social aspects of college life. Some students who enrolled for a year or two because of tuition discounts leave before they finish their degrees.

Sweet Briar’s Bankruptcy

In spring of 2015, Sweet Briar declared that it would soon close its doors. A court ruling managed to save the school for another academic year, but that doesn’t mean Sweet Briar has an extended future ahead of it. Despite the school’s $94 million endowment, it still faces problems of enrollment and student retention. In the past, it tried to partner with larger, stronger educational institutions but so far none have decided to get on board with Sweet Briar. Another issue is that, since the school announced it would close, many members of the faculty took jobs elsewhere, meaning that, at the very least, the face of the school is changing.

The Saving Sweet Briar Campaign

A non-profit organization Saving Sweet Briar makes continuing efforts to keep the school afloat. Saving Sweet Briar has already raised millions of dollars for the school. The organization also seeks to educate the public about the college’s financial state and to find people who can join the school’s board of directors and lead it to a brighter future.

What do coming years hold for Sweet Briar College? Will the school be able to adapt to changing times? It is impossible to say. However, for now, the historic institution remains active and hopeful that it will serve future generations of students. For now, we congratulate Sweet Briar and we wish all associated with the college the best as they begin a new school year.