Read these 107 College Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Academic tips and hundreds of other topics.
2. Background (optional)
4. Research question
5. Your answers to a research question. The case studies
8. Reference (if you didn't have it through the thesis)
Buy used textbooks. Get a part-time job. Consider cooperative education programs and study abroad. Sell your TV and VCR. Visit home less frequently. Some schools give Resident Assistants free room and board. If you're a US citizen, consider ROTC or other forms of military aid. Eat a full meal before going shopping for groceries.
Get to know the financial aid administrator at your college. While specific rules apply for financial aid calculations, financial aid administrators still have a certain amount of leeway in determining how aid is allotted. It's important to let your financial aid officer know about any special circumstances that affect your ability to pay for college.
Avoid red flags, or unsubstantiated claims such as "Software is the most important part of a computer system. Avoid including your personal opinion not substantiated by the literature or the solution you have presented. Examiners like to pick on sentences like that and will ask questions such as, "Can you demonstrate that software is the most important part of a computer system?"
Accumulate credits before college. You'll save a lot in tuition by earning college credits while you're still in high school. Take Advanced Placement courses or think about taking courses at a local community college to get a head start on your college career. You may be able to place out of required courses by taking an "advanced standing" exam at the school.
Live at home during college. You can save a lot if you live in your parents' home when you go to college. You might miss out on some 'classic' college experiences, but your food and housing bills will be a lot lower. Or if you really want the residential college experience, compromise by spending some years at home and some years living on campus. Another method of saving on housing is to share an apartment with some fellow students, especially if you plan to work near school during the summer. But be sure to select your roommates carefully! On the other hand, commuting to college can be stressful due to late busses, heavy traffic, and the occasional car trouble. Keep in mind that you will learn more from your fellow students than from classroom lectures. So this may be one cost-cutting measure you choose to overlook.
Tell the financial aid administrators about unusual family financial circumstances, such as elementary and secondary school tuition expenses, high medical and dental expenses not convered by insurance, unusually high child care costs, recent unemployment, death, or disability of a wage-earner, or other significant changes in the family's income and assets. They may be able to make allowances to help you. (Mention the buzz words "Professional Judgment".)
Identify the sponsor's goals. Try to understand the sponsor's motivation in offering the award. Do they want to promote interest in their field? Do they want to identify promising future researchers and business leaders? If you can identify their goals, you can direct your application toward satisfying those goals, increasing your chances of winning the award.
This section has three main parts:
1. A concise statement of the question that your thesis tackles;
2. Justification, by direct reference to the "state of the art" section, that your question has previously unanswered;
3. Discussion of why it is worthwhile to answer this question.
Since this is one of the sections that the readers are definitely looking for, highlight it by using the word "problem" or "question" in the title: e.g. "Research Question".
After the interview is over, a thank you note is always a good idea. Your note can be quite short, but it shouldn't sound mechanical. As with any good thank you note, mention something specific for which you are giving thanks. You might ask a trusted adult to read your note before you send it. And remember, no smiley faces!
Avoid using phrases such as, "Clearly, this is the case..." or "Obviously, it follows that ..."
These imply that, if the readers don't understand, then they must be stupid. They might not have understood because you explained it poorly. Never assume readers have knowledge they may not have access to.
Secondary applications are short applications from each of the individual schools to which you applied through AMCAS.
1. Return them as soon as possible. If you do not stay on top of these secondaries and get them filled out, they will pile up on you! Returning the completed secondaries quickly may also show schools that you are really interested in attending there and are on top of things.
2. Also, the longer you wait to return them, the longer your application remains incomplete and the slimmer your chances grow of getting in.
Usually, grants and scholarships can't cover all the schooling fees. A loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. (Scholarships, on the other hand, do not have to be repaid.) Your main loan options are:
* Student Loans (also called Stafford and Perkins Loans)
* Parent Loans (also called PLUS)
* Private Loans (also called Alternative)
* Loan Consolidation
The Federal education loan programs offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment plans than most consumer loans, making them an attractive way to finance your eduction.
Be prepared for the merit based scholarship search by starting a portfolio, which documents your activities, interests, and successes. Keep a chart of all extra-curricular high school activities in which you participate and the positions of leadership you assume through these activities
Taping a lecture is a great idea for just about anyone. Some of us don't write as fast as the lecturer speaks. Others have to "understand" before writing. Some professors start one idea and finish up with another. Ask your professor's permission first and record lectures, unless your college has video-recording. Listening (or watching, if you're lucky enough) to the lecture later, after hearing it in class, is helpful for general understanding of ideas, as well as in writing your notes.
You enrolled (and plan to go to) a grad school, but in fact, you have trouble finding your legs in the mess of your programme, its requirememts, and how many hours you should take in the first year. There are several places where you can get advice:
1. LifeTips gurus.
2. H-NET grad discussion group (H-Grad) has many tips and advices that will help you go through grad school (both in the archive and in the actual group). H-NET is a free academic discussion group service, operated by U-Michigan. You can subsribe at: www.h-net.msu.edu
Keep a list of people outside of the school system who know you, your skills and talents, and would be willing to be listed as a reference on applications. Ask their permission before naming them on any applications. Inform them about the nature of the scholarship for which you are applying and they will be better prepared to answer any questions they might receive from the scholarship committee.
You enrolled (and plan to go to) a grad school, but in fact, you have trouble finding your legs in the mess of your programme, its requirememts, and how many hours you should take in the first year. Ask your advisor or advisory board. These folks all went through grad school already and have experience. You can also seek out successful grad students in your field and get their advice
If you are interested in attending school while working, ask if your employer will reimburse you for classes attended. They will sometimes pay for courses that are useful to your particular job. This will offset some or all of the costs and you will be advancing yourself academically.
Mapping out a schedule for completing your degree can help you set realistic goals and budget your time efficiently. A typical bachelor's program requires 120+ semester hours, or about 40 courses. For a full-time student, that works out to about four years. Visit your academic advisor - they usually have a "one size fits all" plan that you only need to modify to meet your needs.
Macalaster College - MN
Magdalen College - NH
Malone College - OH
Maranatha Baptist College - WI
Marlboro College - VT
Marshall University - WV
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MA
The Master's College - CA
McNeese State University - LA
Memphis State University - TN
Messiah College - PA
Michigan Technological University - MI
Middlebury College - VT
Midwestern State University - TX
Milligan College - TN
Millsaps College - MS
Minneapolis College of Art & Design - MN
Mississippi College - MS
Mississippi State - MS
Modesto Junior College - CA
Moody Bible Institute - IL
Morrisville College - NY
Mt. Vernon Nazarene College - OH
Muhlenberg College - PA
Don't treat the college like your high-school, only bigger. In any way you used to treat high-school (the teachers are professors, they don't have the time for pranks and excuses; your parent can't really help you here in a nice chat with the headmaster; you really have to study for tests).
Graduate Assistantships Available
Ph.D. Program in Scientific Computing
University of Southern Mississippi
Applications are invited to the Ph.D. Program in Scientific Computing at the University of Southern Mississippi (Starting date January 10th, 2000). Applicants must have an MS (or equivalent) degree with grades significantly above average. GRE results (and for international students TOEFL results) required for admission. Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program is jointly run by faculty members from Computer science and Statistics, Mathematics and Physics Departments. Financial support available. At least one of Graduate Assistantships will be involved in work in the newly formed Trent Lott Center for Visualization (located at the Stennis Space Center). For more info, please immediately contact:
Marcin Paprzycki, Interim Coordinator
Scientific Computing Ph.D. Program
A brief section giving background information may be necessary, especially if your work spans two or more traditional fields. That means that your readers may not have any experience with some of the material needed to follow your thesis, so you need to give it to them. It is advised to use a different title, such as "A Brief review of X", and not just "background".
There are thousands of grants out there, waiting just for you. There are several free search datatbases where you can find the right scholarship based on your merits, the choice of college, ethnicity, etc:
Source: - Finaid.org
Generally, scholarships and fellowships are reserved for students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study, who are members of underrepresented groups, who live in certain areas of the country or who demonstrate financial need.
Advice for grad students:
1. LifeTips gurus
2. H-NET grad discussion group (H-Grad) has many tips and advices that will help you go through grad school (both in the archive and in the actual group). H-NET is a free academic discussion group service, operated by U-Michigan. You can subsribe at: www.h-net.msu.edu
3. Other grad students - in a more developed level - in your departments.
In general, the rule says not to load yourself too much, especially if you're not a full time student. The general advice is to take 2-3 classes.
Admissions officers don't like having your parents in the room with you any better than you do. Most will tell parents to wait in the waiting room. Avoid the problem. Ask your parents to go somewhere else . You will appear more mature and the interviewing officer will appreciate your thoughtfulness. If your parents are adamant about wanting to accompany you to your interview, don't sign up for an interview.
After the introduction (and background, if needed), there should be a review of the state of art in the subject. At this stage, you don't include your criticism of the state of art. You organize this section by idea, and not by author or by publication.
•Dallas Christian College, TX
•Dartmouth College, NH
•David Lipscomb University, TN
•Davidson College, NC
•Dekalb College, GA
•Delta State University, MI
•DePaul University, IL
•Diablo Valley College, CA
•Dickinson State University, ND
•Dordt College, IA
•Drake University, IA
•Drexel University, PA
•Duquesne University, PA
•Hampshire College, MA
•Harcum College, PA
•Harding University, AR
•Harvard University, MA
•Harvey Mudd College, CA
•Haverford College, PA
•Hendrix College, AR
•Heritage Baptist University, IN
•Hillsdale College, MI
•Hope College, MI
•Houghton College, NY
•Houston Baptist University, TX
•Howard Payne University, TX
•Huntington College, IN
To be published, send material to a respectable, but non-academic journal, like The New Republican, Dissent, The Economist, Popular Science, Popular Psychology, etc. Write to graduate students journals - some universities have such journals, exactly for that purpose.
Many universities have a lot of flexibility when it comes to electives and when you can take a course. Take the time to find out all about whom is teaching the course before you take the course. Find out if the professor has difficulty with the language, how s/he grades, etc. Also, ask others their opinion of the professor as well as the course if they have taken it. Finally, go to the student union office where they can give you the information you need. If the professor has a bad reputation, it may be better to drop the class and take it when it is taught by someone with whom you would enjoy taking it.
Many graduate students have difficulty deciding on their thesis subject and finding a tutor.
1. If you're interested in a course you're taking, consider "broadening" your seminary paper/essay you already have to write for the course into your thesis. That way you have a "ready made" tutor - the one who teaches that course.
2. Your thesis should be something you are really interested in lest you begin to truly hate the topic.
3. Don't think you should come up with the next breakthrough with your thesis idea.
4. Read the latest academic journals in the library. They can give you a fairly good view on what's "new" and "hot" in your field. They can show you which of your ideas have enough research background.
5. You're allowed to feel eerie if your instructor changes your idea. On the other hand, your instructor knows the latests developments, and whether your initial idea can be developed.
Each state determines requirements for licensing educational personnel within its jurisdiction, so teacher education programs prepare teacher candidates to meet these requirements. Programs generally offer three components: liberal arts and sciences subject areas, learning to teach (pedagogy), and field experience (in-classroom training).
Always keep the readers' backgrounds in mind. Who is your audience? How much can you reasonably expect them to know about the subject before picking up your thesis? Usually they are pretty knowledgeable about the general problem, but they haven't been intimately involved with the details over the last couple of years like you have.
Spell difficult new concepts out clearly. It sometimes helps to mentally picture a real person you know who has the appropriate background, and to imagine that you are explaining your ideas directly to that person.
Reseach experience can increase your chances of getting into med school. It can also lead to summer employment opportunities during the first and second years.
1. Get involved in one of your professor's projects - ask about it.
2. Do your own research - try a small research project of your own choosing, an independent study.
3. Get a summer job or internship that is involved in a research project.
•Baptist Bible College, PA
•Bartlesville Wesleyan College, OK
•Barbar College, OH
•Baylor University, TX
•Belhaven College, MS
•Bellevue University, NE
•Belmont University, TN
•Bethany Lutheran College, MN
•Bethel College, MN
•Biola University, CA
•Birmingham-Southern College, AL
•Blackburn College, IL
•Bob Jones University, SC
•Boise State University, ID
•Boston College, MA
•Boston University, MA
•Brigham Young University, UT
•Broome Community College, NY
•Brown University, RI
•Bryan College, TN
•Buffalo State College, NY Bartlesville Wesleyan
Watch all deadlines. Impose a deadline for yourself that is at least two weeks before the stated deadline. Use this 'buffer time' to proofread your application before you send it off. YOU are responsible for making sure all parts of the application arrive on time. This includes supporting materials, such as letters of recommendation and transcripts. So make sure everyone who is contributing to your application has ample lead-time. If worse comes to worst, call the scholarship provider in advance and ask if it's possible to receive an extension. Don't just send the materials in late; many committees will refuse late applications. But don't rely on extensions - very few scholarship providers allow them at all.
The introduction is not just a description of the contents of each section, but also explenation of what the thesis is all about. Briefly summarize the research question (you will be stating the question in detail later), some of the reasons why it is a worthwhile question, and perhaps give an overview of your main results.
•Garden City College, KS
•Geneva College, PA
•George Fox University, OR
•George Mason University, VA
•Georgetown College, VA
•Georgia State University, GA
•GM's Inst. School of Engineering, MI
•Goddard College of Plainfield, VT
•Gonzaga University, WA
•Goucher College, MD
•Grace College, ID
•Grand Rapids Baptist College, MI
•Grand Valley State University, MI
•Grove City College, PA
You generally cover three things in the Conclusions section, and each of these usually merits a separate subsection:
2. Summary of Contributions
3. Future Research
Conclusions are not a rambling summary of the thesis: they are short, concise statements of the inferences that you have made because of your work. It helps to organize these as short numbered paragraphs, ordered from most to least important. All conclusions should be directly related to the research question.
Neatness counts. Make several photocopies of all the forms you receive. Use the copies as working drafts as you develop your application packet. It's always best to type the application. If you must print, do so neatly and legibly. Proofread the entire application carefully. Nothing is less impressive than an application with misspelled words or grammar errors. Ask a friend, teacher or parent to proofread it as well.
Complete the application in full and follow directions. Many students fail to follow directions. You can give yourself a competitive advantage by reading the directions carefully. Provide everything that is required. But don't supply things that aren't requested. You won't impress and you might be disqualified. Be sure to complete the entire application. If a question doesn't apply, note that on the application. Don't just leave it blank.
The NCAA's requirements, most recently modified in January 1997, involve your high school grades in thirteen subjects and your test scores. Generally, you must:graduate from high school,takea certain number of courses in English, science, etc., maintain a "C" average or better, and meet the minimum required SAT or ACT scores.
1. Consider its ranking.
2. Check financial aid.
3. Check the location of the school to make certain you are going to be happy living there.
4. Check your opportunities to be a research/teaching assistant. Also consider faculty/grad student ratio.
5. In a research-focused grad degree, consider a university specializing in your chosen field, or one with a professor you'd like to work with.
6. Try to visit the university, not as part of the "visitors" round, but go alone and meet students, visit some classes. Get a feel for the campus.
Apply for 'life experience credit.' If you're entering school from the work force, you may be able to earn college credit for your employment and life experience. Some schools administer their own tests and standards while others allow you to take CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) and Proficiency Examination Program (PEP) tests for college credit.
Universities and colleges hold "open house" when you can visit the place, enter classes, see the dorms, etc. It is very important to actually visit the university or college you're applying to (or planning to apply to), even outside the "open house" period. Some things that look great on the web or in a brochure might turn out to be disappointing in person.
Write an accomplishments resume. Compile a list of all your accomplishments. This will help you identify your strengths and prepare a better application. Give a copy of the resume to the people who are writing letters of recommendation for you. They will be able to work some of the tidbits into their letters, making it seem like they know you better.
College success is based on what you learn: being in classes, reading what you have to (and even more) for next class, and being prepared for the test. Here are some important tips about classes:
1. Don't miss classes.
2. If you do miss:
•Don't forget to make up what you missed before the next class.
•If you start to photocopy missed notes only right before the test, you might miss something important that will be discussed next class.
•If you missed a class, it's very important that you read the required reading done from the syllabus - what you missed as well as the for next class.
•Lafayette College, PA
•Lake County College, IL
•Lamar University, TX
•Lancaster Bible College, PA
•Lansing Community College, MI
•Lawrence University, MI
•Lawrence Technological University, MI
•Lee University, TN
•LeTourneau University, TX
•Lewis and Clark College, OR
•Lewis University, IL
•Liberty University, VA
•Loyola College, MD
•Lubbock Christian College, TX
The essay is a very important part of the application for good universities. It is also much more time consuming than anything else in the application process.
1. Write the outline as soon as possible.
2. Try several approaches. Write several essays - they might roll into one or two or they might be sent to different schools.
3. Consult others, have professors help edit your work.
The urgent need for scholarships is an open field for hacks and scams. The most basic rule is that if a trust or a grant is asking money from you (for example - in order to enroll you) - it's probably a scam. You shouldn't waste your money on fee-based scholarship matching services. You won't get any better information than you can get from the free services available on the Web.
Take advantage of student resources that may be available at the university you are attending. In addition to a general student union office, colleges may have their own student union office where you can get information on course content, past exams, or even tutors to help you with current classes. There is no charge for the informationand it can be extremely valuable.
This is an incomplete list of colleges that have accepted homeschooled teens. If you don't see a college/university that you want to apply to, contact them to find out
about admissions for homeschoolers. Oh yes, there are more than just 100 colleges in this list.
•Agnes Scott College, GA
•Akron University, OH
•Alabama-Huntsville Univeristy, AL Albion
•Albion College, MI
•Allegheny College, MI
•American River Community College, CA
•American University at Washington, DC
•Amherst College, MA
•Antelope Valley College, CA
•Anderson Univeristy, IN
•Antioch College, OH
•Appalachian Bible College, WV
•Arkansas State University, AR Asbury
•Asbury College, KY
•Austin College, TX
•Azusa Pacific University, CA
•California Institute of Technology, CA
•California Polytechnic State, San Luis Obispo, CA
•California State University, Dominguez Hills, CA
•California State University, Sacramento, CA
•California State University, Stanislaus, CA
•Calvin College, MI
•Cambridge University, UK
•Carleton College, MN
•Carnegie Mellon University, PA
•Casper College, WY
•Cedarville College, OH
•Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte NC (my hometown!)
•Chowan College, NC
•Christendom College, VA
•Christian Brothers University, TN
•Cincinnati Bible College, OH
•Circleville Bible College, OH
•Christian Heritage College, CA
•Christian Liberty College, VA
•Circleville Bible College, OH
•The Citadel, SC
•Clearwater Christian College, FL
•Coastal Carolina University, SC
•College of St. Catherine, MN
•College of William and Mary, VA
•College of Wooster, OH
•Colorado Baptist University, CO
•Colorado Christian College, CO
•Colorado College, CO
•Columbia College, MO
•Columbus College, GA
•Concordia College, MN
•Cooke County College, TX
•Cornell University, NY
•Covenant College, TN
•Crichton College, TN
•Criswell College, TX
•Crown College, MN
•Cumberland County Community College, NJ
Combine degrees to save time and money. If you're planning to earn multiple degrees, you can save a year's tuition by enrolling in a combined degree program. Some schools will allow you to combine a bachelor's degree with a master's degree or a master's degree with a doctoral degree. Some colleges may offer a program that combines a bachelor's degree with an M.D. Other colleges offer an accelerated 3-year program, or will allow you to graduate early if you complete all the requirements ahead of schedule. You can do this by taking a somewhat heavier load, such as an extra course every semester, or by taking classes during the summer. Some schools do not charge extra tuition for taking additional classes.
Submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) every year, even if you think you don't qualify for aid. Being rejected for federal aid is sometimes a prerequisite for private awards. Some federal aid, such as the unsubsidized Stafford Loan and the PLUS Loan, is available without regard to financial need. And who knows, you just might qualify! Don't forget to apply for federal aid as soon as possible after January 1. [This tip is for US citizens only; International students should visit www.edupass.org.]
Complete some of your credits at a lower-cost school. You can save a lot by completing your general education requirements at a community college, state university, or less expensive school and then transferring to complete the degree. A less competitive school may offer merit aid to attract talented students. Talk to an admissions counselor to be sure your credits will transfer, and learn as much as you can about the financial aid policy. Some schools restrict financial aid for transfer students, or may only have financial aid for students who transfer at the beginning of the academic year.
Look for ways to pay in-state tuition. Most public colleges and universities charge considerably less tuition to in-state students in comparison to students from out of state. Pick a college in your state to keep costs down. Investigate regional student exchange programs, in which some states offer reduced tuition rates for students from nearby states. Or if your heart is set on going out of state, consider moving a year before starting college. After you've established residency (usually one or two years), you should be eligible for in-state tuition. Policies vary from school to school and state to state, so be sure to check with your school of choice.
Take steps to make sure your application gets where it needs to go. Before sending the application, make a copy of the entire packet and keep it on file. If your application goes astray, you can always reproduce it quickly. Make sure your name (and social security number, if applicable) appears on all pages of the application. Pieces of your application may get lost unless they are clearly identified.
In each country, including the United States, you have a board responsible for accrediting universities. Usually, universities accreditied by the board in the country of origin, are accredited in the US (or other countries). You can get the list of foreign universities accredited in the United States by writing to:
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-0498
or calling 1-800-USA-LEARN
•East Central College, MO
•East Texas Baptist University, TX
•Eastern Connecticut State University, CT
•Eastern New Mexico University, NM
•Edinboro U. of PA, PA
•Elizabethtown College, PA
•Elon College, NC
•Emmanuel College, GA
•Emory University, GA
•Eugene Bible College, OR
•Evangel College, MO
•Evergreen State College, WA
•Evergreen Valley Community College, CA
Some of us have distracting, or even annoying, speech patterns that may make us sound unintelligent or just plain difficult to listen to. We may not even know we have such speaking habits. One of the best ways to discover your speech deficiencies is to ask your friends. Another method is to record yourself speaking. You may not realize you use fillers, such as "um," "like," or "you know." Eliminate such fillers in your speech. If you're at a loss for words, or need to pause to think, sit quietly instead of saying "uhmmmmm" or something equally distracting. Pausing before you speak will make you appear patient, pensive, and,perhaps, even intelligent!
1. Get your recommendations ASAP, some of your professors may be on a sabbatical or leave and you'll have to re-contact them, all of it requires time. The best time to start is in April.
2. "Big names" (famous folks in your field who happened to teach you) always help, but they should be lecturers that really know you, not people who taught you in one of those 400 student classes.
3. Don't be embarrased to go and ask for recommendations. They may be "big names", but if you go to people who really know you, they'll be happy to help.
4. Keep copies of all recommendations. You might be able to use them in your job search, PhD application and so on.
Students sometimes are told that the sign of a good interview is that it lasts longer than the time allotted. Not true. During interviewing season, most colleges schedule interviews so tightly that it isn't possible to let one interview run long without skewing the entire schedule. So don't worry if your interview lasts exactly as long as the secretary said it would. Remember to be considerate of the people in line behind you: don't try to stretch out the end of your interview by suddenly becoming long-winded.
There are different expectations for Master's theses and for Doctoral theses. This difference is not in format but in the significance and level of discovery as evidenced by the problem to be solved and the summary of contributions.
A Doctoral thesis necessarily requires a more difficult problem to be solved, and consequently more substantial contributions. The contribution to knowledge of a Master's thesis can be in the nature of an incremental improvement in an area of knowledge, or the application of known techniques in a new area. The Ph.D. must be a substantial and innovative contribution to knowledge.