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Exercise Your Right!

Amanda Fornecker | January 16, 2008

Victory speeches, caucuses, primary elections. What does it all mean? Whose side are you on?? Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, Mitt Romney.. the list goes on and on. But if you think that it’s too late to get into the action for the 2008 elections, think again. There’s still time to get election-educated (on top of being school-educated) so you’ll be able to vote in the all-important general election in November.

There are many resources to help you through the process. Don’t you want to have some sort of say in electing YOUR president for the next four years?! Get on it now!!

First, you need to make sure you are registered to vote. You can do this online through various outlets, including Rock the Vote. You must be 18 years of age to register. It’s your right as an American citizen to vote so be sure to exercise that right as soon as you can. This is an important election that can really go any number of ways. Raise your voice!

Second, check out the candidates and what they stand for. Do you even know what you stand for? For a question-and-answer quiz that lists the main issues Americans are concerned with, take a look at http://www.govote.com. After you finish the quiz, the site matches you up to the candidate that agrees with you most. You can also see how you compare to other candidates. It’s a great jumping off point. You can also get politics updates sent to you daily by signing up for the New York Times politics email newsletter.

January is already half over… Get educated and get going immediately!!

-Amanda Fornecker

File Under: General

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A Talent for Scholarships

The CollegeBound Network | January 16, 2008

There’s a chill in the air and a new year to tackle, so what should the first thing on your agenda be? How about filling out some scholarship applications? Before you balk at the thought of writing essay after essay remember that not all scholarships are created equal. While scholarships have traditionally focused solely on academic achievement, more and more are asking students to demonstrate their unique talents and abilities.

Case in point: the BMI Foundation, Inc.’s Fifth Annual peermusic Latin Scholarship. Rather than writing a paper, students age 16 to 24 submit original songs and instrumental competitions that fit into a Latin genre of music, for the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship. It’s the perfect opportunity whether a student is an aspiring musician, singer, or songwriter, or simply has a love of music and a desire to supplement their college funds.

If you start your scholarship search the smart way, you’ll find plenty of other opportunities like this one. Just be sure to keep on your toes and avoid potential scholarship scammers that may head your way.

*** For more info on the BMI Foundation, Inc.’s Fifth Annual peermusic Latin Scholarship, visit www.bmidfoundation.org. The deadline is February 8, 2008 so get a move on!

– Genevieve M. Blaber

Holiday Gifts for the Dorm Dweller

The CollegeBound Network | December 12, 2007

Heading off to college for the first — or last — time? Then check out our top five must-have college essentials. Running the gambit from practical to plain fun, these gifts will make a perfect addition to any wishlist.

Practical Gifts
Gift Idea: Amazon Kindle
Textbooks, novels, newspapers — with so much to read, study, and carry, life as a college student is anything but easy on your back or the environment. But what if you could conserve all that ink and paper into a lightweight, easy-to-hold device that stores 200 book titles, newspapers, and even blogs? You’d be thinking of the Amazon Kindle. Fresh off the assembly line, it’s the latest in e-book readers and boasts an on-the-go wireless connection for downloading digital data. From catching up on required readings to finding out the latest with RSS feeds, keeping up-to-date with your reading has never been so easy.
Price: $399
Website: http://www.amazon.com

Gift Idea: Webster’s New World Dictionary on USB Drive
Feeling perspicacious? Need to measure an apogee? Want to expound upon the finer points of anthropomorphism? If any of these phrases has you confused then it’s time to boot up your word knowledge. In college you’ll need the right language skills whether you’re writing papers, taking exams, or just trying to figure out what your professor’s saying during lecture. But before you start lugging around a three-pound dictionary wherever you go, check out Webster’s New World Dictionary on USB Drive. You’ll find polysyllabic words instantly deciphered with the click of a mouse thanks to this device that holds all the intricacies of the English language in an easy-to-carry — and transfer — electronic form.
Price: $42.99 – 64.99
Website: http://www.centon.com/usb/websters

For Fun Gifts
Gift Idea: iKaraoke
Searching for a way to bring life to your next dormroom party? Look no further than the iKaraoke by Griffen Technology. It’s an iPod add-on that takes your favorite tunes and turns them into instant karaoke classics by removing vocal tracks before it sends the signal to your stereo. With the mere flick of a switch you can be rockin’ out to your pipes singing the latest top hits. And if you really want to feel like you’re hitting the stage, turn on the reverb for some authentic echoing. It’s the perfect gift whether you’re an aspiring American Idol or simply want the craziness of a karaoke bar without the high prices.
Price: $49.95
Website: http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/ikaraoke

Gift Idea: Smarty Pants for the Wii
No dorm is complete without a Wii videogame console and the party games to go with it. That’s why you’ll want to add Electronic Arts’ latest offering, Smarty Pants, to your holiday videogame wishlist. Combining trivia with the Wii’s interactive motion sensors, the game asks you to put on your thinking cap and your dancing shoes. You’ll go from answering questions about the periodic table of elements to using the Wii-mote to “crank” the in-game spinner, and with up to four people playing at the time you’ll work up some laughs as you hone your competitive edge.
Price: $49.99
Website: http://www.ea.com/smartypants/

Practical and Fun!
Gift Idea: Speaker Frames
If there’s one uniting factor amongst college dorms across the country, it’s that they’re all small. Painfully, excruciatingly, small. So in the spirit of college students who have to save space by doubling up on item uses — look mom, it’s a combination crate/table/footstool! — American Science & Surplus store is now marketing the Speaker Frame. It’s your average everyday 5″ x 7″ wooden picture frame with an added feature: a speaker hidden in the back. Snag a set and get ready to conserve desk space while adding a touch of pizzazz to old high school photos.
Price: $29.50 each
Website: http://www.sciplus.com/singleItem.cfm/terms/13980

– Genevieve M. Blaber

Her College Holiday Gifts

Amanda Fornecker | December 12, 2007

When it comes to a girl and her toys, there are many things that come to mind. Who said stylish and chic can’t combine with studious and practical?! Here are some holiday ideas to get you (or your beloved college female) back to the dorm in style and help make next semester even better.

Much like colleges, we’ve arranged the gifts into three categories: Reach Gifts, Moderate Gifts, and Safety Gifts, according to price range. Check ’em out and be sure to enjoy your gifts during your semester back at school!

Reach Gifts
Gift Idea: MyLife-MyArt Portraits
Get your favorite family portrait enlarged and in the form of a painting that will make it seem like it should hang in a museum from MyLife-MyArt. The painting will be the perfect addition to your dorm room wall and will give you that extra homey feeling you’ve been lacking since you moved in last September. There are lots of choices for sizes and frames. To give it an extra authentic and different look, choose the gallery option.
Price: approximately $49-$579, depending on the size and type of frame
Website: http://www.mylife-myart.com

Gift Idea: BedHead TIGI Pro Styling Appliances
Most every female college student has heard of BedHead TIGI products for their hair before. Now, the maker of the straightening, curling, and anti-frizz balms and sprays has come out with a line of pro styling appliances in their “Light Me Up!™” collection. We tried the 1″ curling iron and found that it creates loose curls, for that natural and wavy look. Tourmaline, Nano-Ceramic, and Ionic technologies have been combined for healthy-looking, soft, and shiny hair. And it’s hot pink – the perfect accessory for the college girl! So get your tresses professionally styled on your own before your big presentation. You’ll look and feel like a million bucks! Also available by BedHead are colorful hair dryers, straighteners, and other styling irons.
Price: $40 for curling irons; $85 for straighteners and hair dryers
Website: http://www.helenoftroyusa.com

Moderate Gifts
Gift Idea: XShot Photo Accessory
For your upcoming presentation that requires proof that you went to the museum, why not take a picture? But it’s hard to do that when you’re by yourself or everyone you’re with wants to get in. Enter XShot. With a digital camera, you can attach XShot to the built-in thumbscrew, set the camera’s self-timer, extend your arm, and shoot! XShot gets over three feet away and can fit up to five people in your photo with no problem. So use it for your next presentation or to get some fun pics up on your college Facebook profile.
Price: $24.95
Website: http://www.xshotpix.com

Safety Gifts
Gift Idea: Flex Neck Reading Light
Last semester you were totally annoyed with your roommate’s sleeping habits. She always went to sleep early and shut off the light, leaving you to squint at your work in the dim light of the flashlight you had to position just in the right place. Don’t get caught up in the same mess next semester and get a Flex Neck Reading Light, by LightWedge, LLC. It keeps only your immediate work area well lit without the hassle because you can attach it where it’s needed – to a book, to your computer, etc. This reading light also comes in eight different colors. So leave the olden days of candlelight behind you and start off the semester brightly.
Price: $9.99
Website: http://www.greatpointlight.com; http://www.lightwedge.com

Gift Idea: iPod Hoodie
Keep your iPod stylin’ with an iPod hoodie – the perfect kind of college gear. The hoodie is a bright orange mesh case that has, you guessed it, a hood. The front of the hoodie has a pocket to store headphones. For a fun and stylish look, be sure to dress up your iPod – it’ll keep it warm during those snowstorms of the beginning of the semester while you trek to class in your own hoodie and UGGs.
Price: $9.99
Website: http://www.uptownbella.com

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

-Amanda Fornecker

The SAT Saga

Amanda Fornecker | December 5, 2007

“The SAT is often viewed as a deal maker or breaker, instead of being viewed as a test that measures a fairly limited set of skills.” – Michele LoBosco, tutoring center co-founder and writer of a book about acing the SAT.

There are lots of books out there that try to help you crack that scary SAT exam. So which is the right one for you? Check out what these books have to offer you for your SAT prep!

How to Survive the SAT [and ACT] (Hundreds of Heads Books, LLC, 2007)
In this small, handheld book, you can flip through quotes from real students and parents. Get advice, reactions, and tips on how to survive that test all students dread: the SAT. You’ll see firsthand actual guidance from people who have been there and done that.

Although there are no actual SAT practice questions in this book, it certainly has helpful strategies, with charts, boxes, statistics, and horror stories.

Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to the SAT (Workman Publishing, 2006)
With an extensive word list, the 2007-2008 edition of this SAT help book certainly aims to “up your score.” It includes more than 600 words and if you’re not that in to reading a book all the time, you can download the words onto your iPod and study them on the go! The same word list appears throughout the book and uses silly sentences as ways to remember vocab that’s most commonly found on the SAT.

Charts and pictures help to serve as explanations that will make learning strategies easier, while a partnership with PrepMe.com provides a free online test.

How to Ace the SAT Without Losing Your Cool (MJ Publishing, 2007)
This SAT prep book was written by two tutoring center owners, who happen to be sisters. In it, there are instructions on acing the SAT: it is broken down by section, followed by sample practice problems. The authors pose questions to the reader to get them thinking about their own skills (ie. “What happens when…” and “What does this mean?”). It’s almost like the authors are having a conversation with their audience.

There are step-by-step explanations, charts, and a great appendix equipped with parts of speech and sample sentences. The SAT prep book really helps you set goals and achieve them in the time before the SAT, even though there is no beginning to end test provided in the book. To find more advice from the book’s authors, click here.

-Amanda Fornecker

File Under: General, Test Prep

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In today’s “press releases that caught my attention” category, this one takes the cake (although, considering the subject matter, perhaps I should say “takes the low-fat, sugar-free Jello”):

First College Weight Loss Program Opens in California:
Young Adults Earn College Credits While Losing Weight

It’s actually a pretty cool thing: the Academy of the Sierras, which is a residential weight loss boarding school for overweight teens in California, is participating in a college program with nearby Reedley College. Students who are schooling at the Academy–and by schooling, I mean readin’, writin’, and getting’ fit–can exercise their minds by studying toward an associate degree from Reedley.

Instantly I pictured an MTV promo commercial: “Celebrity Fit Club meets The Real World… tune in to see 10 teens battle the bulge and hit the books. Find out what happens when students stop eating carbs and start getting A’s.” I’m sorry–that was a bit snarky–but in our reality-obsessed culture, I must admit that’s what I initially thought. Until I read on….

What really captivated me was this startling fact: A recent national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control showed that college students increased their rates of obesity more dramatically than any other age group–a 68% increase during the 1990s. Coming from someone like myself–who probably could have done better at math had I spent as much time analyzing formulas and algorithms as I did counting calories–I think this is a great idea.

Part of what contributes to overeating is a low self-esteem. As editorial director of The CollegeBound Network, I have heard countless stories from students who say that college changed their lives, their outlook on the world, and their perspective of themselves. And, when you listen to kids who’ve successfully completed the Academy’s weight loss program, the connection between health and happiness definitely computes:

“I was going nowhere. I was no longer in school, putting on weight, and didn’t feel good about myself,” said Liz Roe, part of the founding class of the College Program. “But I decided that I cared enough about myself to make changes and go to Academy of the Sierras. And I’m glad I did. I’ve lost over 100 pounds. It has changed my life.”

According to Phil Obbard, executive director of Academy of the Sierras, there is no reason why students who struggle with their weight shouldn’t be able to binge on the benefits of college, and the new Academy of the Sierras College Program lends valuable support. “The college environment and the freedom it brings are often problematic for students, as some establish lifestyles that can negatively impact their physical, psychological and even vocational futures,” he explains. “Our College Program provides students with a path to a healthy weight and lifestyle while they start or continue college and transition into adulthood.”

Sounds to me like a perfect recipe for scholastically-fit success. Find out more at
http://www.healthylivingacademies.com. And if you’re from MTV, I want royalties on the idea….

—> Weight-challenged, math-whiz… find the perfect college for you at CollegeBound and CollegeSurfing.

-Gina LaGuardia

A Totally Convenient Tutor

Amanda Fornecker | November 1, 2007

It’s never too early to prep for the SAT! Convenience pairs up with practicality in the latest and greatest tutor. Franklin Electronics has teamed up with the Princeton Review to create the Pocket Prep Interactive Handheld Tutor for the SAT and ACT ($129.95 at http://www.franklin.com).

Its lightweight feeling, as well as its sleek carrying case make this tutor extremely convenient to take anywhere. Study on the bus ride to school or in between classes. With practice tests, study aids, and test prep, you’ll get lots of practice and learn to ace that standardized test within no time at all.

Each practice test has 10 sections, with reading, writing, math, and essay questions. And the best part is that the device keeps time for you so you don’t have to continually watch the clock and monitor your time. You just need to glance at the top of the screen to see how many minutes remain. Furthermore, you’ll be able to get your score when all is said and done.

In addition to its convenient carrying case, your tutor comes equipped with a pencil and a graph paper pad. There’s even a place to put your calculator! Your tutor is easy to use and everything you need is right there, including electronic flashcards. It makes it that much easier for the student.

It’s really a great way to prepare yourself and learn. After all, practice does make perfect…

Don’t forget to register for the exam! Here are some important test dates:
SAT:
November 3, 2007
December 1, 2007
January 26, 2008
March 1, 2008
May 3, 2008
June 7, 2008

ACT:
December 8, 2007
February 9, 2008
April 12, 2008
June 14, 2008

-Amanda Fornecker

Welcome to the CollegeBound Network’s New Blog!

The CollegeBound Network | October 24, 2007

We here at the CollegeBound Network know what it’s like to wade through the waters of higher education. Whether it’s undergrad or grad, freshman applications or internship interviews, we’ve been there, aced that. The only thing we missed out on was having someone in the college-know who could help us out along the way — but that’s about to change for you college-bounders.

With this blog, we plan on delivering the latest in college-related news, expert advice, hot scholarship info, reviews, and even sneak-peaks of must-have gadgets for life on campus. We’ll also keep you up-to-date on what you should be doing to prepare for college applications and admissions as the school year counts down.

But before we get started, we need your help thinking up a name for our blog. So comment here or message us on MySpace with your suggestions, and make sure to visit the CollegeBound Network for tips on starting your school search, in the meantime.

– Genevieve M. Blaber

File Under: General

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