Blogging is an enjoyable way to express yourself, share your knowledge, and strengthen your writing skills in between classes. Two thirds of people’s main reason for blogging is to generate income, while 31% of bloggers successfully earn money from their content. Unlike writing an essay, however, writing for an online audience requires a different set of skills and considerations. By taking the time to hone your writing skills to suit the digital sphere, you’ll get your content in front of a bigger audience and become an all-round stronger writer.

Write engaging content

Web content typically needs to be more lively and engaging than the formal academic work you’re used to writing. Whereas the average human attention span was found to be twelve seconds in the year 2000, it’s now a mere eight seconds long — that’s one second less than the attention span of a goldfish. You therefore need to ensure your web articles do everything they can to hook readers and keep their attention. In particular, infographics are a great way to provide readers with a visual representation of your content and increase both article visibility and engagement. They’re especially useful for breaking up, summarizing, and clarifying long-form, complex, and data-driven content. Fortunately, infographics aren’t complicated to put together. You just need to first create an outline which includes the key driving facts, statements or numbers in your article. Free online design tools like (Venngage or Piktochart) can then be used to create and finalize your infographic.


Pay attention to composition

Only 16% of online readers read content word-for-word. 79% of readers admit to just scanning blog posts rather than reading the entire piece. So, when writing for an online audience, it’s important to use these statistics to your advantage and implement key web-specific composition strategies. Unlike with academic writing, you don’t want to bore the reader with long and solid blocks of text. For example, headings and subheadings can help organize the page into digestible sections and help readers find specific information. Ideally, they should be short (between four and eight words) and include keywords from the associated paragraphs. Additionally, use bullet points to make your content more user-friendly. Bullet points are great for breaking up long paragraphs and capturing the attention of scanners and turning them into readers.

Use SEO

Including SEO (search engine optimization) keywords in your content means your articles will rank higher in the search engine results, and therefore be more easily found by readers searching for that information. While it’s beneficial to incorporate relevant keywords naturally into your content, it’s just as important not to overdo it. Primarily focus on crafting engaging, unique and informative content. Search engines (and readers) reward strong writing above all, whereas overusing keywords can injure search engine rankings and decrease visibility.

Writing for the web can be an enjoyable hobby that eventually becomes financially rewarding. By taking care to tailor your articles to suit the web, you’ll attract a wider audience and strengthen your overall writing skills

Spring Break 2020 was a pivotal moment in higher education history. Upon learning about the rapidly spreading coronavirus, schools around the world shut down their campuses — many while students were still on spring break. College students abruptly went home and began navigating a world of remote learning.

A year later, schools still struggle to mitigate COVID-19 spread, and students are itching for the sunshine. As temperatures rise throughout the United States, what can you expect for Spring Break 2021?


Spring break canceled

The main approach that many universities have taken is simple: Spring Break 2021 is canceled. Some university officials chose to eliminate the vacation entirely to stop students from traveling during the annual academic respite. But spring break hotspots, like Miami Beach, are seeing a massive turnout of college spring breakers nonetheless.

With most of their classes over Zoom anyway, students complete coursework using their hotel’s WiFi and then heading out to the beach. While it’s easy to understand indulgent behavior after a very challenging year, reports suggest that students disregard COVID-19 safety precautions: skipping masks and overfilling hotel rooms. Public health officials warn against potential spikes on campus once students return.

Incentivized staycations

Some institutions are trying a different approach. Rather than canceling spring break, UC Davis is offering students money to stay in town for their spring break. Students are experiencing a challenging year, and a few days off from the stress of assignments and midterms are no doubt needed.

Leaving campus to vacation is the bigger concern, as increased travel coincides with increased virus spread. Awarding some extra cash to stay close to home not only boosts the local economy, but also incentivizes students to stay nearby while still getting some needed self-care.

Match your mask to your swimsuit

Whether your school is actually observing spring break or not, there are a couple of precautions students should take. If possible, get your flu vaccine, and if available, your COVID-19 vaccine. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Don’t share your drinks. Try to social distance. If you decide to travel and socialize, make sure to quarantine upon returning to campus to eliminate virus spread. If you’re feeling any symptoms at all, get tested.

Be creative with your spring break. Try camping instead of overfilling vacation rentals. Hit the beach but not the bar. There are plenty of creative ways to celebrate the season and keep campus safe.

Which schools are doing a great job of keeping COVID cases low and staying open? What’s their secret?

More stressful than final exams or roommate disagreements, the pandemic has upturned traditional college expectations. Institutions around the world transitioned to a remote-learning environment, and many saw enrollment suffer because of it. As the tides turned in 2021 with the vaccine rollout and holiday spikes ebbing, some schools are re-engaging with in-person teaching, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Penn State University. But college towns worry about large student gatherings and shared residential spaces facilitating quickly-spreading clusters throughout the local community. But it’s not all doom and gloom; certain campuses are out-performing others to operate somewhat normally and maintain low COVID cases. What steps have they taken to keep their campuses safe?

Creating a Campus Task Force

One of the first key steps in managing the virus’s impact on campus was to develop a COVID task force. Wagner College in New York started early, developing its own Pandemic Response Team in January 2020. Leveraging medical and public health experts through the northeast, Wagner mandated weekly testing protocols and transparent reporting mechanisms. The task force was critical in the college’s success; rather than quickly reacting to concerns or overcorrecting, stakeholders throughout campus could collectively work through decisions and create a unified message. Rather than multiple departments sending separate emails, a singular COVID leadership team could develop a concise website and message.

Facilitating Surveillance Testing

Unlike its Ivy League peers up north, Duke University remained predominantly open throughout the pandemic. Administrators credit their innovative approach to COVID-19 testing and tracing. Students received testing schedules and their results via a unique smartphone app developed by the institution. Duke implemented “pooled testing,” a method by which multiple samples are diagnosed with one test; this allows more students to get tested with fewer resources. The catch? This method only works when positive cases in the community remain low. Duke also implemented extensive testing protocols for its athletes, and NCAA fans will watch a relatively normal season. The school’s contact tracing team was quick to respond to positive test results, interviewing individuals and immediately notifying those at risk of exposure.

Enforcing Relevant Consequences

Even with the implementation of testing protocols and quarantine rules, campus officials must be prepared for students to push back against COVID policy. Whether it’s COVID fatigue or a general disregard for the virus’s severity, students are unlikely to follow all the rules all the time. Some universities have pursued more severe consequences, suspending hundreds of students at once for attending parties. Others have overloaded conduct officers by sending countless students through a tedious conduct investigation. Schools that are successfully staying open are getting more creative with consequences. Baylor University in Texas is piloting weekly COVID testing for all members of the campus community, with a particularly harsh consequence for Gen-Zers who skip their test: students who miss three testing appointments lose their Wi-Fi access. But there are incentives as well, including raffle prizes and gift certificates for students who get tested.

Offering Teletherapy Options

Mental health providers have witnessed a rise in young adults struggling with anxiety and depression. Colleges, like Loyola University in Illinois and City University of New York (CUNY), are expanding counseling services by hiring more providers and purchasing technology to better facilitate teletherapy. University officials recognize that mental health creates significant barriers to academic success, and many students cannot afford private services. Investment in student outreach and counseling is a crucial step for campuses to endure and recover from the pandemic.

On January 20th, his first day in office, President Biden suspended student loan payments and interest through September 30. For anyone with a federal student loan, this means you don’t need to make payments until October 2021, no interest will accrue to your outstanding balance, and if you are in default then your loan will not be collected during that time. While that is obviously great news and gives you breathing room by deferring payments, it’s important to remember that this merely pauses payments for a few months; the debt will still be there and you will have to resume payments Oct 1 (unless an extension is passed).

Save your Payments

While your payments are paused, if you have income then it’s a good idea to save the money you would have made for your student loan payments so you can use this time to build a financial cushion. That way when October rolls around, you will have some savings to fall back on and you will be ready for your student loan payments to resume. You can also still continue to make manual payments on your loan if you wish, but auto debits have been suspended until October 1.

Biden also wants to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt per student, but this would require an act of Congress and other hurdles so don’t count on this relief yet. You should still plan on including student loan payments in your budget.

Lower your Payments

During this time, you should plan on keeping your future payments as low as possible for when they do resume. The best way to keep your payments low is to enroll in an income based repayment plan. These payments are based on your adjusted gross income, so the payments are limited as a percentage of your income. The less you make, the lower your monthly payment will be. It’s a good way to manage your payments over a long period of time, with payments as low as $0 and loan forgiveness possible after 20 years of payments.

You can also defer your payments if you become unemployed or suffer certain medical issues that prevent you from generating income. Check with your student loan servicer for details. Don’t defer payments without getting written confirmation from your loan servicer first, as student loan debt cannot be wiped away in bankruptcy so if you miss payments it will affect your credit report.

To see your options, the Department of Education has a useful simulator that allows you to see your options and how it affects your overall financial plan.

Be Ready

Once you know your options, it’s a good idea to plan in advance since when October rolls around and millions of students are contacting their servicers at the same time it could be difficult to get things done in a timely manner. Contact your loan servicer and get all of your information ready so you are ahead of the pack.