Student Life

Awesome Apps for College Students

For students, there are a lot of interesting apps out there that can help you stay focused in school. We’ve found a bunch of interesting apps that will not only organize your schedule, but apps that can help you budget, track your class notes, and even automatically silence your phone when you are in class.

Photo from inclassapp.com

inClass

The inClass app allows you to take multimedia notes that you can share by file, through Facebook, or just by printing them right off the app. You can also put together a schedule for all of your classes, tasks for each day and stay up to date by setting alarms for yourself when things are due.

Available for iPhone and iPad

Photo from itunes.apple.com

iStudiez Pro

iStudies Pro allows you to have a virtual planner for all of your classes. No longer will you have to track everything in a paper planner. iStudiez will give you a way to put together a calendar of your classes and assignments, as well as a way for you to track your semester progress, including your GPA!

Available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad

Photo from mint.com

Mint.com

Mint offers a pretty cool app that will help you stay on track with your budgets. Mint allows you to see all of your accounts in one place so you never lose track. It will also keep a log of bills you’ve paid and upcoming bills that you’ll have to pay, as well as suggestions on how you might save money.

Available on PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, and iPad

Photo from itunes.apple.com

Circus Ponies NoteBook

Don’t let the name fool you:  This app is all business. NoteBook allows you to keep your documents all in one place, and the cool thing about it is that it looks like a paper notebook. You cannot only outline through this app, but you can add action items to the notes you take, assign due dates to things, and send important dates to your calendar and your phone.

Available for Mac and iPad

Photo from dropbox.com

Dropbox

Dropbox is a great way to save your files in one place that you can access from anywhere. Dropbox will be a lifesaver when your printer runs out of ink or when your computer crashes the night before your 15-page paper is due.

Available for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry

Photo from play.google.com

Studious

Studious is a great way to keep track of your assignments so you never lose track of when things are happening or when assignments are due. This app also gives you a way to save a copy of your notes either in text or in a photo. However, probably the coolest thing about this app is that you can set it up so that your phone will silence itself while you’re in class.

Available for Android

Photo from play.google.com

Droid Scan Lite

This app is pretty cool because it allows you to scan documents right from your phone or tablet. This makes it easy so that you can automatically save an electronic copy of important documents, notes or an assignment that you can then share.

Available for Android

Photo from play.google.com

Alarm Clock Xtreme

This app is great for those people who have trouble waking up in the morning. Alarm Clock Xtreme allows you to set many different types of alarms, including a music alarm, a rising volume alarm, and even an alarm that requires you to do a math problem in order to snooze or dismiss the buzzer.

Available for Android

These are just a few suggestions.  For more awesome apps, be sure to check us out on Pintrest!

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Housing Advice, Student Life

Getting To Know Your New Home

If you’re heading off to college for the first time, you most likely will be finding yourself in an entirely new place.  It can be incredibly daunting if you don’t know anyone, you don’t know of any cool places to go yet, and you’re just starting off at your new school.  At JumpOffCampus, we’ve certainly been there, and that is why we’ve put together some suggestions for helping you get to know your new home.

Check the walkability score.  In one of Mark’s previous posts, he had mentioned using Walk Score to find cool places near you.  Not only will the site give you the rating of how walkable your city is, but you’ll also get a listing of all the restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, retail stores, bookstores, bars, and other entertainment venues right in your area.

If you’re a coffee lover, try CoffeeSeeker.com.  By simply putting in your zip code, you can find all the coffee shops right within your area.  That way you can even try all the coffee shops in your neighborhood to see which one you like the best.

Check local newspapers and other local publications for cool events and reviews.  One of the best resources you can use are the local publications in your area.  Not only can these give you listings of some of the local businesses near you, but they may also give you reviews of these places so you can determine if it would be a place you would like.  If you live in Boston or Providence, you may want to check out the Boston or Providence Phoenix, which will have a ton of cool listings right in your area.

Take a drive.  Another way to find intriguing places is to simply take a drive around and see where you end up.  This can also be a great way to get to know your new roommate, so take them along for the ride!

Avoid chain stores and shops for a while.  A great way to meet new people and find some great places is to avoid shopping in chain stores, or places you could find anywhere else.  It will not only open you up to your new city, but you may also find your new favorite coffee shop or bakery!

Although navigating a new place can be difficult sometimes, it’s best to try to take it all in stride.  While it won’t be easy at first, just hitting the web or taking a drive can help you ease the shock of living in a new place.

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Student Life

Surviving the First Day of College

If this is the first time you’re heading off to college, it can be extremely terrifying heading off to class on your first day.  It’s certainly not like the first time you went off to high school; you don’t know many people (if anyone) and you are most likely lost as to where your classes are.  You may be concerned that the classes you are taking (if you’ve ever heard of that subject) are really going to be difficult and are going to be incredibly overwhelming.  It also doesn’t help that it seems every class you go to seems to throw scary policies at you that you may have never heard (or thought of) before, and include a workload that will leave you wondering, “Will I ever survive?”

Well, you will survive that day, and you can survive the rest of the semester.  It’s not all that bad.  Sure, the first day is a little scary, especially when you get a look at all the work you’ll have to do and all the policies you’ll have to follow.   However, it can be simple, and this is why we’ve put together some tips to help you to get through the scariest part of the semester so you can make it to the easiest:   The minute you pass in your final exam.

Take a walk around campus to find your classes the day before.  Although you may feel a little dorky, but it really helps; a lot of students on their first day get lost and end up getting to their classes late.  In an article at Surviving College Life, they explain that it’s a good idea to walk around campus the day before your classes start.  You can even bring a couple of friends or your roommate along with you.  It’s easier to find the buildings when you’re not pressed for time and stressed out.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Whether it’s asking someone in your class if you’re in the right class, asking for directions to a building, or asking your professor for clarification, it’s important to ask questions.  Even if you feel weird about asking questions, you shouldn’t; all the other freshmen are in the same boat and so you’re not alone.  Be sure to get the facts so that you’re not wandering aimlessly around campus and miss your class, or that you end up in an art class when you were supposed to be in a business class.

Take a minute to meet the person next to you in all your classes.  This will not only give a buddy in all of your classes who can work with you on projects, but it will also give you someone to commiserate with when you think the test was too hard or you just can’t seem to get through that paper.  This will also give you someone to contact when you miss class or misunderstand something the professor said.

Don’t be intimidated.  The most important thing to remember about the first day, like we said, is that you’re not alone; there are plenty of other freshmen who are in the same boat as you.  It’s important to just avoid getting bogged down with trying to memorize all the policies, remembering when all of your assignments are due, or overwhelming yourself with the thought “How will I ever get through this?”  Make sure to have fun in your classes and to try to get something out of them.  College should be a great experience, and you shouldn’t let yourself get totally intimidated by all the work you have to do.  Just remember to keep your chin up, because you can get through all your work and have fun at the same time.

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Student Life

Tips for Adjusting to College Life

For many incoming freshmen, college can seem very scary.  You are suddenly given greater independence, but with that comes a lot of new experiences and responsibilities you’ve never had to experience before.  Before you head to school in the September, you may be wondering how you’ll ever adjust to all of this.  You’re certainly not alone; at JumpOffCampus, we certainly remember that feeling.  This is why we’ve put together some tips to help make your transition to college a little bit easier.

Don’t expect all the comforts of home when you move into your dorm.  In an article we read by Cristiana Quinn at GoLocalProv, she explains that while living in the dorm is a great experience, you can’t expect all the comforts that you might get at home.  For starters, you most likely won’t have your own room.  This means that you’ll be sharing a room with at least one other person.  As we’ve mentioned in some of our previous posts, you have to make sure that you are conscious of that and you’re considerate of your roommate(s).

You also can’t expect to spend all your getting ready in the bathroom in the morning.  If you have a shared bathroom with 3 or 4 other people, you need to be considerate of their schedules as well.  This means not taking long showers in the morning or hogging the bathroom.  Be aware that maybe others have a similar schedule as you and will have to be getting ready at the same time.   The best thing to do is to find out everyone’s schedules and schedule shower times.

Stay on campus.  In an article we read at University-College.net, they explain that one of the biggest issues freshmen have is staying on campus (especially on the weekends).  As we mentioned before, your dorm room is not going to have all the comforts of home that you may be used to.    However, it’s important to stay on campus to stay connected to campus activities and events.  This also gives you more time to make connections with new friends and foster new friendships.

Keep looking on the bright side.  According to the article at University-College.net, it’s important to keep a positive attitude when you’re adjusting to life in college.  While it seems like your entire life has been completely turned upside down, the important thing is to not get bogged down by a fear of this change.  You need to stay positive and embrace this change, because if you do, college really can be one of the greatest times in your life.

Make new friends.  For many freshmen, there can be a great temptation to stay connected to only those friends who you knew from high school.  While those relationships should still be important to you, it can really hurt you should you choose to avoid meeting new people.  This is because you’re other  high school friends will continue to go on to meet new people, but you won’t.  You start feeling left out if they are always hanging out with their new friends and you’re left alone.  The best thing is to meet people in your class, join a student group or organization and get more involved on campus.  Even the shyest of people can meet others this way.

Stay focused.  It’s important to stay focused, despite having all this newfound freedom.  It can be tempting to go to every party or hang out with your friends every weeknight.  However, you have to make sure that you balance your social life and your academic one.  Remember that you’re at college to learn, which means that you have to stay up on your homework, assignments, and reading to stay in college.

While going away to college can be intimidating, we hope that by following these tips it will make your transition just a little bit easier.  Just remember to that this is your experience and that no one else can determine what your college experience will be; you’ll have to do that on your own.  In this way college can really be a great experience that you’ll take with you for the rest of your life.

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Student Life

Avoiding the Freshman 15: Eating Healthy In College

For college students, eating healthy is often far from their minds.  I mean, let’s be honest here:  The fact that you’re in class all day and have to study all night means that you’re not always going to make it to the dining hall to eat.   And who can resist that pizza at 3 am from the pizza place at the top of campus?  However, you have to remember that pizza won’t keep you looking trim.  This is why we’ve put together some suggestions to help you avoid the freshman fifteen.

Avoid late-night snacking.  A recent study at Northwestern University has actually proven that those who eat late at night gain about 28% more weight than those who eat during regular hours.  If you’re trying to avoid the freshman fifteen, it’s probably not the best idea to eat that pizza at 3 am.

Eat balanced meals.  You should be splitting up your meals based on a balance of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fats.  It’s significantly healthier for you to be eating a variety of foods, rather than just carbohydrates, even if you are eating fewer calories.

Keep a stock of healthy snacks in your room.  This will keep you from ordering out for pizza or heading down to the vending machine when you’re a little hungry.

Limit the fast food.  Even though it can be significantly more convenient when you’re on the run, it can be one of the leading causes of the freshman fifteen.  While it’s not friendly for your body, it’s also as equally unfriendly for your wallet.  In Debby Mayne’s article “Healthy Eating Habits for College Students,” she explains that if you do eat out, you should avoid French fries and other fried foods, and order a salad or sandwich that doesn’t contain on that fried and greasy meet.  She also suggests that if you’re ordering pizza, you stay away from pepperoni and add toppings like olives, mushrooms, green peppers and even Canadian bacon (it’s lower in fat than pepperoni).

Drink water.  According to an article by Yonika Willis at Livestrong.com, drinking more water can actually help you lose weight because it makes you feel fuller and helps you to avoid overeating.  Willis explains that by drinking eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily, you can burn off almost 35,000 calories a year, or about 10 pounds. It also doesn’t hurt to drink water throughout the day so you don’t become dehydrated.

Limit sugar.  Even though that Red Bull or that candy bar can get you through long nights of studying, it’s not the best idea if you’re trying to avoid the freshman fifteen.  Limit the foods and drinks that are full of sugar, and reduce the amount you put in your coffee and tea.

Avoid taking your coffee with cream.  Coffee is the lifeblood of the college student, but what many students may not know is that taking their coffee with cream could be added a significant number of calories and fat to their diet that they don’t factor in.  According to another article by Kristen McCarty at Livestrong.com, a typical medium coffee from a coffee shop is about 16 oz, and while the calories in black coffee is minimal, you add about 50 calories for every teaspoon of cream you put in.  Cream can also be anywhere 18 to 30 percent fat.  That’s why it’s better to start taking your coffee with skim milk (adds only about 10 calories per 2 tablespoons) or black, as it will add fewer calories.

While it’s important to be sure that you have a balanced diet, it’s also important to have fun.  Having pizza every now and then is certainly not a problem, but just keep in mind that everything should be in moderation.  It’s the all-the-time and the excess that will have you seeing the freshmen fifteen.

Other articles we referenced:

“Late Night Eating Linked to Weight Gain” by Tara Parker-Pope

Healthy Dining Hall Eating at KidsHealth.org

Healthy Eating in College:  How to Avoid the Freshman 15 at Freshman15.com

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Roommates, Student Life

Tips for Living with a Roommate for the First Time

If you’re going off to college for the first time and moving into university housing, in most cases you’ll be put into a room with at least one other student. From our experience, many students go into this situation blindly or ill-informed. This is why we’ve put together a few tips for you to avoid making many of the mistakes first-time students make when moving in with their roommate.

Email your new roommate before you move in. When you first get your roommate assignment, it’s a good idea to email them before you move in. In most cases your school will provide you with their email address. Be sure to introduce yourself in the email and tell them a little bit about yourself. While you should express a little bit about who you are, this is not the time for you to tell them about your “quirks”. Save that discussion for when you both move in because sharing this will most likely scare them. There is such a thing as TMI.

Find your roommate on Facebook. Most people today have a Facebook. You may want to check out your new roomie and friend them. You may get a little more insight into who they are. However, don’t get completely freaked out if you see something there that you may not like or agree with. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Keep an open mind when you first meet your new roommate. Like we said before, you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Take some time to really get to know your roommate. It’s important that you two (or three) can at least get along.

Don’t expect to be best friends with your roommate. As we may have mentioned in some of our previous posts, it’s important to know that you may not be best friends with your new roommate(s). This is why you shouldn’t go into the situation believing that you will be “BFFs”. Your expectation instead should be able to get along with your roommate.

Establish room rules on the first day you both move in. Many schools will have their students fill these out on the first day you move in. While it may seem stupid, you may want to actually take this seriously. Remember: It is important, from the start, to establish how your room will be used and other expectations you and your roommate may have.

Be sure to communicate with one another. This is the most important part of getting along with your new roommate, but probably the most neglected. You should remember that open and honest communication is the best way to avoiding big blowups between you and your roommate.

While it seems like it will be difficult getting used to a new roommate, it actually isn’t too hard. Just remember to avoid judging a book by its cover, to keep an open mind, to set expectations for how your room will be used early on, and to communicate frequently and openly with your roommate. In these ways you can ensure that you and your roommate will have a smooth and easy transition into living with one another.

Articles we referenced . . .

http://www.collegeparents.org/members/resources/articles/how-help-your-college-student-prepare-living-roommate

http://powertochange.com/students/people/rmatedorm/

http://blog.storagechoice.com/2012/07/23/tips-for-living-with-a-roommate-for-the-first-time/

http://www.hercampus.com/dormlife/how-get-along-your-roommate-all-year

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Student Life

Should I Join a Fraternity or Sorority?

Greek Life is certainly a consideration as you either enter college or continue on.  For many students, joining a fraternity or sorority can help them make friends and will be one of their fondest memories in their college experience.  However, Greek Life isn’t for everyone, so we’ve put together some information for you about fraternities and sororities that will help you decide if Greek Life is right for you.

What is Greek Life and what are fraternities and sororities?

In an article we read at USA Education Guides, Hannah Roberts explains that sororities and fraternities are groups for women and men (respectively) and have been around since about 1776.  These are primarily considered social organizations, however, they can be focused on other points of shared interest such as community service, academics, or religion.  The main purpose of these organizations according to CollegeHelper.com, is to join young men and women together “to offer fellowship, leadership, academic support, participation in campus activities, service to the community, and preparation for future careers.” These organizations are then considered part of Greek Life, in that their names involve letters of the Greek alphabet.

What are some of the benefits associated with fraternities and sororities?

According to CollegeHelper.com, fraternities and sororities can foster lifelong friendships, can help students to get involved in social activities on campus, and offer students a chance to do community service; they also help with networking and offer students leadership opportunities.

What are some of the disadvantages associated with fraternities and sororities?

According to CollegeHelper.com, there will often be fees associated with pledging and initiation, and then regular annual dues that you must pay.  Fees also include social activities, retreats, and other events.  Greek Life can also require a lot of time, as there are many meetings and social activities you have to participate and organize as part of the fraternity or sorority.  Lastly, there is an issue of hazing; although it is illegal to haze, many fraternities and sororities still haze those who they are initiating.  You should be sure to stay away from fraternities and sororities who have a history of doing this.

How can I find out more about the fraternities and sororities at my school?

Greek organizations will typically have a “Rush Week” in the fall semester where students considering Greek Life can attend events and information sessions put on by the fraternities and sororities on campus.  In this way, students can find out more about which fraternity or sorority fits them.

What does it mean to “rush”?

According to an article we read by Jane Schreier Jones at College View, when you choose to participate in Rush Week, you will be considered a “rushee”.  This means that you are going to visit various fraternities or sororities and meeting the members.

What is the difference between “rushing” and “pledging”?

When you “rush” you are participating in Rush Week.  It is then after Rush Week, fraternities and sororities will send invitations to rushees to join their organization (“bids”).  If a rushee accepts a fraternity or sorority’s bid, they will then be considered a “pledge,” and will go through a period in which they will learn more about that particular organization.

While your decision to participate in a fraternity or sorority entirely depends on your own preferences, we hope that this has helped make the decision just a little bit easier.

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