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Textbooks Begone: How to Put Cash Back in Your Pockets and Ease the Pain of Outrageous Book Prices

There are few things more frustrating than staring at a stack of expensive books that cost you hundreds of dollars and will probably never be opened again. But at the end of each semester, millions upon millions of college students across the country do just that.

The average college student spends over $1,200 a year on books and materials[1]. That’s an enormous amount of money, and with sky-high tuition fees, rent, and bills, very few college students can afford to blow that kind of cash on books that effectively become paperweights once the semester ends.

On-campus used bookstores might take your textbooks off your hands—if you’ve got the specific ones they’re looking for and they’re in perfect condition—but they’re going to offer you pennies on the dollar or, worse, put your book on consignment, forcing you to wait for payment until they sell (which may never happen).

Traditionally, there hasn’t been a good option for students looking to recoup their outrageous book costs. But now there is: TextbookCashback.com.

The easiest way to sell unwanted books

TextbookCashback.com is an online book buyback company that stands out because of how easy it is to get rid of your old books at a price that makes it worth your while. The site is incredibly easy to use, shipping is a breeze, and payment is extremely prompt.

All you have to do is type in the ISBN of the book you’re looking to sell, and the site will instantly provide you with the price they’re currently paying for that book. The site pays more for most books than the major competitors, and if you’re happy with the price, you simply print out the free USPS shipping label provided and drop your book in the mail. As soon as it arrives and is accepted, TextbookCashback.com will cut you a cheque or pay you instantly via PayPal.

The process is quick and painless, making it an ideal solution for students with stacks of unwanted books that could be money in the bank instead.

Wear and Tear? No Problem!

Used bookstores and other buyback services are extremely picky with what they’ll accept, often to the point of being unreasonable. It’s crazy to think a student hoping to resell their textbook at the end of the semester can’t jot a note on a page or highlight a passage, but that seems to be what a lot of companies expect.

At TextbookCashback.com things like minimal highlighting or writing, slight cover damage, and normal wear and tear are no problem. If your book is a valid US student edition, and on their current buy list, you’re good to go. Not all books are eligible for buyback at all times, but the list is constantly changing and updating, so even if they aren’t buying the book you’re trying to sell today, they might be soon.

Get Paid Quickly with Near-Zero Effort

Selling books on your own is a pain in the butt. Putting up a listing, negotiating a price, and arranging a pickup or delivery all take time and effort—assuming you can find a buyer at all. TextbookCashback.com removes all of that headache so that you can turn your books into cash as quickly as possible.

Once your books arrive, acceptance and payment are extremely fast. If you choose to be paid by check, your payment will hit the mail the next day and be at your door a week or so later. If you opt for PayPal, you’ll be paid instantly upon acceptance. The only work required of you is to print out the shipping labels and dump your books in the mail.

You can also rest assured that the amount on your check will be the amount you were quoted. Some book buyback companies have a bad reputation for quoting one price and then offering a lower amount once they’ve got your books in hand. Those kinds of shady practices give the whole industry a bad name, but with TextbookCashback.com what you see on the quote page is what you get.

If you’re like most college students and you’d rather have cash in your pocket than a stack of old, unwanted textbooks, you owe it to yourself to check out TextbookCashback.com. It only takes a few minutes to look up your books and if you like what you see, you’re only a few clicks away from reclaiming some of the hard earned money that outrageous textbook prices steal away from you every semester.

Go to www.TextbookCashback.com now and see how much money you can put back into your pockets today!

[1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-behind-the-soaring-cost-of-college-textbooks/

We Need to Talk About Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy Movie

We Need to Talk About Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy Movie

If you haven’t already heard, Zac Efron is starring in a new and highly-anticipated Ted Bundy biopic called Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.

For us true crime fanatics and OG High School Musical fans, this sounds unmissable, right? Well, that’s up for debate.

The movie is directed by Joe Berlinger, whose documentary series Conversations With A Killer: The Bundy Tapes recently fascinated and disturbed Netflix viewers. Having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this month, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile received mixed reviews, and those on Twitter are finding it much more difficult to agree about how Thursday’s trailer makes them feel.

With the film arriving in theatres later this year, here’s everything you need to know.

Ted Bundy who?

Ted Bundy is one of the country’s most infamous criminals—a serial killer who murdered, raped and assaulted numerous young women and girls as young as 12 in the 1970s. He was a necrophile, a kidnapper and confessed to 30 homicides after more than a decade of denials. His crimes took place on a huge scale and went unsolved for a long time, supposedly because Bundy was charismatic, educated and a genuinely liked member of society. He was executed for his crimes in 1989 after receiving three death sentences.

What’s the movie about?

In Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy as told from the perspective of his long-term girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. Played in the movie by British actress Lily Collins, Kloepfer used the pseudonym Liz Kendall to publish her memoirs, and this is the name used in the film. The movie follows Kloepfer’s seven-year relationship with the killer, instead of detailing the horrific acts of violence he committed.

Other casting choices include The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons, who portrays prosecutor Larry Simpson, and John Malkovich, who appears as judge Edward Cowart. Cowart famously called Bundy a “bright young man” and was known for being sympathetic towards the killer in court.

Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment and James Hetfield also appear in the movie. 

What’s being said?

Dramatizing real life events invites discussion about ethics, and in this case, some of Bundy’s victims and relatives are still living, making the conversation more significant.

While critics have commended Efron’s performance, many have been left unsettled by the movie’s general “glorification” and humanization of the serial killer and rapist.

A key issue here is the casting of Efron in the first place, with the argument being that it seems disturbing to associate a murderer of young women with a teenage heartthrob whose fans are mostly made up of young women themselves. On the other hand, in all references to Bundy at the time of his crimes, he is described as “charming”, “normal”, “attractive” or similar, and these traits undoubtedly played a part in making him an infamous monster.

In their review, The Playlist noted how the movie “can’t resist making Bundy look like a little bit of a rock star at times even though the movie purports to condemn him.”

This opinion has circulated in more ways than one, with many finding it hard to miss the upbeat “rock music” that appears in the trailer for the movie.

Fifth Harmony singer Lauren Jauregui shared the clip on Twitter, adding: “The romanticization of a serial killer is exactly why these sick f**** continue to do things like this to women. Notoriety. This is appalling.”

Many who caught the premiere of the movie at the Sundance Film Festival—for example, this writer from Cosmo—have promised that the trailer was not representative of the entire screening. “Never is there any doubt Bundy did what he was accused of.”

Amid the debate, is the voice of Kathy Kleiner Rubin, who survived an attack from Bundy in her sorority house at Florida State University in 1978.

Speaking with TMZ, she said: “I don’t have a problem with people looking at it, and as long as they understand that what they’re watching wasn’t a normal person. 

“I believe that in order to show him exactly the way he was, it’s not really glorifying him, but it’s showing him, and when they do say positive and wonderful things about him… that’s what they saw, that’s what Bundy wanted you to see.

“I think everyone should see it,” she concluded.

Serial killer’s are not hot

Perhaps proving that there is cause to worry is the vast number of people “swooning” over Bundy on social media.

Following Berlinger’s, Conversations With A Killer: The Bundy Tapes, viewers have been describing the murderer as “hot”, “attractive” and “a waste of a baby daddy”.

Netflix has had to step in to address the issue, tweeting: “I’ve seen a lot of talk about Ted Bundy’s alleged hotness and would like to gently remind everyone that there are literally THOUSANDS of hot men on the service—almost all of whom are not convicted serial murderers.” 

The comment comes after former Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley spoke out on a similar issue surrounding his new fictional Netflix show You, in which a serial killer uses social media to stalk and manipulate a young woman.

Badgley has replied to various tweets that express admiration and attraction for the character.

Further reading: Are Thrift Stores Really Getting More Donations Because of Marie Kondo?

Top 5 TED Talks For College Graduates

Top 5 TED Talks For College Graduates

If you’re a recent college graduate, you’ve probably realized that the real world is hard, and you’re likely wishing that you’d paid more attention to the professional and practical advice that was offered to you during college.

If you’re in dire need of some guidance that extends deeper than how to deliver a firm handshake, let us introduce you to the inspirational world of TED Talks. These College News favorites will help you stay positive, motivated and true to yourself.

Why some of us don’t have one true calling, Emilie Wapnick

Has the classic question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” ever repulsed or confused you?

In this illuminating talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick describes the kind of people she calls “multipotentialites”—those who have numerous interests and the desire to move on to something new after developing a specific skill.

“But then I would become interested in something else, something totally unrelated, and I would dive into that, and become all-consumed, and I’d be like, ‘Yes! I found my thing’, and then I would hit this point again where I’d start to get bored.”

If this sounds like you, Wapnick relates to the anxiety of pursuing a career and feeling abnormal. She emphasizes that this is an illogical, culturally engrained fear, and explains why multipotentialites are needed in the workforce just as much as those who are “specialists”. If you’re feeling stressed about choosing a major or finding the perfect job, find comfort in this talk.

Why you will fail to have a great career, Larry Smith 

Economist Larry Smith advocates that there is no such thing as a good career. Instead, there are great careers, passion, purpose and power in the word: “unless”.

“Passion is your greatest love. Passion is the thing that will help you create the highest expression of your talent. Passion, interest—it’s not the same thing. Are you really going to go to your sweetie and say, ‘Marry me! You’re interesting.’ Won’t happen, and you will die alone.”

If you’re about to settle into a job that your parents, your fear or your practicality have chosen for you, this extremely motivating talk could set you on a path to become extraordinary instead.

The skill of self-confidence, Dr. Ivan Joseph

Athletic Director and former varsity soccer coach, Dr. Ivan Joseph is often asked for the most important skill he looks for when recruiting. His answer: self-confidence.

For Joseph, confidence is the ability to believe in yourself, regardless of odds, difficulty or adversity. If you’re thinking that this is harder than it sounds, then you’re both right and wrong—Joseph insists that confidence can be trained with hard work. Through repetition, self-affirmation and by persevering through failure, you could develop this desirable skill.

“There’s enough people that are telling us that we can’t do it; that we’re not good enough. Why do we want to tell ourselves that?”

Graduating college and stepping into the real world requires confidence, but Joseph explains that we cannot expect ourselves to feel confident until we are familiar with a situation and know how to tackle it. The only way to achieve this is to begin. 

Why 30 is not the new 20, Meg Jay

If you learnt this lesson re-watching the iconic movie 13 Going On 30, you’ll know that assuming that life automatically sorts itself out when you hit 30 is naïve. Psychologist Meg Jay will encourage you to throw out your collection of pizza boxes and stop considering your 20s as a throwaway decade.

“Claiming your 20s is one of the simplest, yet most transformative, things you can do. Do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that’s an investment in who you might want to be next. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.”

If you’re feeling lost as a twentysomething, Jay believes that one good TED Talk could help you to take control of your defining decade, use your weak ties, pick your family and get some identity capital.

Overcoming hopelessness, Nick Vujicic

This powerful talk by motivational speaker Nick Vujicic is packed full of valuable first-hand advice on overcoming hopelessness and learning to be kind to yourself and those around you.

“Think of the three biggest discourages in your life. They’re not your biggest discourages. You are. You are. It only takes seconds for me to tell you something discouraging but then, you may never forget my words.”

Transitioning into the job market can feel like a hopeless, unfair task, but being reminded that we are not born with hope but born to live through pain, could inspire you to have faith in your future. 

Further reading: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

As a recent college graduate, I can look back on my school years with some fond feelings and some memories that I’d rather just forget. So that you don’t have to make the same (many) mistakes that I did, here are the 10 things that I wish someone had told me before I’d set off for the chaos that is freshman year.

Your major will not define your entire life

This is one that I feel particularly passionate about because I seemed to spend most of my college years trying to explain—whether to students who actually had their lives figured out, or to my grandma—why I’d chosen to major in a “pointless” subject like English. This proved pretty difficult considering I wasn’t even sure why I’d chosen to go to college and “but I don’t want to be an engineer” didn’t seem to be a good enough answer. Obviously, the first thing to glean from this is that taking your time to make an educated decision about something that’s going to take up a lot of your time and resources, is probably a good idea.

Luckily, I discovered the concept of transferable skills. Sure, if you major in “Bowling Industry Management and Technology”, you’ve probably got a specific career path in mind. But if you decide somewhere down the line that bowling isn’t for you, you’ve learned management skills that can be applied in any workplace. More importantly, I loved English—and isn’t that the point?

Grades are actually important…

Unfortunately, despite the many transferable skills you might learn at college (like how to do laundry, or perhaps how to sleep and look like you’re concentrating at the same time), employers do evaluate you on your GPA (many companies actually filter applications by GPA). When it comes down to it, you’re at college to learn, so prioritize your studies, work hard and try your best to maintain a good GPA.

But a bad grade is not the end of the world

Throughout college, it was not unusual to find me shuddering over the memory of one particularly terrible grade. The dread and nausea had been made worse because I knew that I’d deserved it—I’d rushed the assignment to spend more time with my friends. With all my plans to graduate and stumble upon a career, it hadn’t really crossed my mind that I could, very possibly, fail college. This grade told my sleep-deprived and caffeinated self that my future was over.

After an extremely emotional and somewhat embarrassing visit to my professor’s office, and a math calculation by a friend who actually understood numbers, I was relieved to discover that this blip had barely affected my average. It turns out that we all have good and bad days, and if anything, this terrifying reality check shocked me into trying harder at everything else.

You don’t have to go to college straight away

One of my biggest regrets is not taking a gap year. With the relentless pressure to go to college, staying on at school can feel like the only option, but the reality is: it’s not. Your college education will still be there when you’ve had a bit more time to figure it all out.

Having a part time job is underrated 

Having something that is outside of school and being surrounding by a completely different type of friend is refreshing. Looking back, the excuse to leave the house for an environment where I had fun and physically was not allowed to study, definitely got me through my final semester. Also, the extra money and experience didn’t hurt.

Make the most of the experience

It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of college and adult life. Unfortunately, this stress does not stop after college, so you might as well make the most of it while you can. Say yes to classes that intrigue you, join in activities, learn a random skill and always take advantage of fresh air when you can.

Toxic people are to be eliminated from your life

It took me a good few years to get this mantra down. When you go to college, you’re thrown together with random people and forced to make friends or else have nobody to borrow milk from during times of need. This does not a good friendship make.

If somebody is negative, belittling or controlling, or simply brings way too much drama into your life, it’s okay to distance yourself. Toxic people will always drain your attempts to be positive and drag you down with them, which is not part of the college experience.

College can be lonely and that’s okay

Especially in freshman year, there’s an expectation that you should be having the best time of your life. Often on social media, this is reflected by constant partying, social engagements, and people spending money that they don’t have. Whilst I was happy to enjoy this unrealistic way of life for a while, it quickly became exhausting.

Surrounded by a crowd of semi-familiar faces, it is actually easy and normal to feel lonely at college. After moving away from everything you’re familiar with, it’s important to take time out to assess your state-of-mind and recharge.

Stop taking things personally

This is one that I’m still working towards. Being in a competitive situation that forces you to compare yourself to your peers can damage your self-esteem and solicit your defence mechanisms. By knowing your worth, not jumping to conclusions and letting things like a bad grade go, you’re automatically promoted to the master of your own emotions and energy levels.

Being addicted to coffee is totally fine…probably

My dependence on caffeine is definitely helping me now that I’ve graduated and actually have to get out of bed in the mornings. Take this advice at your own peril.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Now that fall is well and truly here, the novelty of college has probably worn off a little. If you’ve suddenly found yourself face-to-face with reality, completely exhausted and having lost every single piece of stationary that you started with, you’re not alone.

Time management is a big concern for most college students. The flexibility of independence can also make it difficult to prioritise college work, social events, basic hygiene tasks and the hundreds of voicemails that your parents have left you.

Before you decide to give up and take a nap, follow these tips and you could be on your way to having it all.

Organization is the key to success

Whether you always carry the new (and, lets face it, completely blank) planner that you bought at the start of the year in your bag for peace of mind, or you often find yourself frowning at indecipherable reminders on your phone’s notes app, settling on a solid organization system is vital for time management.

Even if you pride yourself on having a fantastic memory, writing everything down will ensure that you know what’s on your to-do list. With millions of productivity apps at your dispense, logging events and setting reminders will lift the added pressure of remembering your homework and help you to generate a productive schedule. Just remember to bite the bullet and prioritize which tasks make it to the top of your list.

Practice makes perfect

Routine and schedule are two key concepts that are fundamental to time management at college, where there is no one to hold you accountable for your whereabouts. Typically, it is expected that you allocate around 35 hours per week for working and studying, including the time you spend in class. With other obligations and social activities in mind, creating a weekly timetable that leaves time for independent study will help you to stay focused and productive. Blocking out leisure time will also give you something to look forward to each day, and you’ll probably work faster knowing that the end is in sight.

It can be easy to fall into the habit of staying up late in order to squeeze in everything on your to-do list, but getting enough sleep each night is one of the most important steps in your routine. Luckily, the idea that everyone needs exactly eight hours sleep is unrealistic—some people may only need six, and some may need nine. Sleep is often considered in terms of 90-minute cycles and you should get at least five whole cycles per night (7.5 hours). Here, the key is to set a time to go to bed every night and stick to it. Every time you change your body’s wake time, it suffers something resembling jet lag, making you feel groggy and affecting your performance, even if you’ve had more sleep than usual. 

Limit procrastination

We’ve all been there. Making the executive decision to take a five minute break and cheer up with a cat video seems like a great idea, until you catch yourself poised to click “adopt” four hours later, only to realize that your accommodation doesn’t allow pets. Cue the panic, self-hatred, stress and eventually a nap to make it all go away, and you probably haven’t achieved a great deal. Breaking up your work into small steps can help you to focus and make the task at hand seem less overwhelming. Create a deadline for each of these steps so that you’re not waiting until the final deadline is near to begin work.

Nobody is perfect—instead of punishing yourself for wasted time, assign rewards for any work that you do complete. Lunch, an episode on Netflix, or a free hour to spend with your friends can all be incentives to be productive. Limiting distractions like your phone, social media and TV will make these rewards even more enjoyable, and seeking out a buddy to hold you accountable will ensure that you don’t break your own rules.

The key to time management can be as simple as understanding yourself. Self-awareness will help you to recognise the times of day when you’re most focused, and whether you’re more productive brainstorming with a group or on your own.

Healthy body, healthy mind

You’ve probably heard this one countless times, but making sure you allow time for self-care is essential for your mental and physical health, as well as your attention-span and energy levels. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week can literally boost your brain power.

Ask for help

Ever heard the idea that we learn from our mistakes? If you’re struggling to find a balance at college, that’s okay. Adjustment takes time, but you may need to accept that you’re trying to take on too much. Talking to a trusted friend, family member or mental health representative could help to ease some of the pressure and enable you to rationally think through your options and figure out a new plan.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

10 Spooky Books to Read this Halloween

10 Spooky Books to Read this Halloween

Whilst I appreciate a good jump-scare horror film, nothing can quite beat the many nights spent reading Goosebumps by the light of a friend’s shaking torch that permeate my childhood memories. Stories have been used to scare us since the beginning of time and it’s chilling in itself to realize that just a few words on paper can stimulate a consuming sense of dread.

Halloween is the perfect time to curl up with one of these spooky books—just make sure to leave the lights on.

House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski

This dark tale is about a family who discover that their new home is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside—and so much more. Deserving of its cult following, the experimental novel immerses you to fumble blindly over color, footnotes, upside-down text and your own nightmares. The only spoiler that I can give is that the dedication page reads: “This is not for you.”

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

You may think you have exhausted your tolerance of haunted houses—that is until Shirley Jackson takes you to Hill House. This slow-burning psychological horror was the inspiration for the new 10-part Netflix series and tells the unnerving story of four strangers and their journey into the depths of Hill House. 

Bird Box, Josh Malerman

Interweaving the past and the present, this horror novel follows Malorie and her two young children as they flee to safety. The main problem is that something is outside, and glimpsing it has driven everyone to deathly violence. Blindfolded, Malorie is unable to see what’s following them.

Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn From the author of Gone Girl, comes an even-more-disturbing thriller. Reporter, Camille Preaker returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two young girls and is confronted by her own, twisted demons. If you’re triggered by cutting you should stay away from this one, though.

Pet Sematary, Stephen King 

It would have been rude not to include Stephen King on this list and Pet Sematary is frequently referenced as his scariest book. Set in rural Maine, the suspenseful, slow burning horror features the Creed family and their recent move to an idyllic home. When the family cat dies, they ignorantly bury it near an old pet cemetery. The ending of this one might just leave you too terrified to turn the page.

Silent Child, Sarah A. Denzil

In the summer of 2006, six-year-old Aiden fell into a river during a flood and drowned. His body was never recovered. Fast forward 10 years and when Aiden staggers out of the woods, injured and mute, his mother must attempt to reconnect with her son and figure out who took him.

Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane

Set in 1954, Shutter Island follows US Marshal Teddy Daniels as he arrives to investigate the disappearance of a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. The strange case exposes human experimentation, war tactics, a killer hurricane and a protagonist who is left as messed up, disoriented and desperate to figure out the mystery as you are.

The Grave Tender, Eliza Maxwell

This southern gothic suspense novel is beautifully written and haunting. When Hadley returns to her hometown—where she’d witnessed her mother set herself on fire—she discovers that her family is surrounded by dark secrets. This book deals with several forms of abuse and trigger warnings include: rape, incest, domestic abuse and child molestation.

The Last Time I Lied, Riley Sager

If you like to be kept guessing, this spooky mystery is for you. Emma remembers her days at Camp Nightingale, playing two truths and a lie with her friends—until they all went missing. When she is asked to return to the camp as a painting instructor, Emma discovers that all is not as it seems. Her past and present collide as she seeks to discover the truth.

Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel, A W Jantha

Did you know that Hocus Pocus the book and a brand new sequel were released in July this year? You’re welcome.

Further reading: The Most Haunted Universities in the World

Dr. Sherry Benton on Mental Health Support at College

Dr. Sherry Benton on Mental Health Support at College

If you’re a college student and you’re struggling with mental health, you’re definitely not alone. College News got advice from an expert.

With a recent research study showing that one in five university students are affected by anxiety or depression, the pressure on campus facilities is high. College News discussed the problem with Dr. Sherry Benton.

Dr. Benton is a psychologist and mental health care administrator with over 22 years of experience. She is also the founder of TAO Connect—a digital platform that functions to make mental health recovery treatments easily accessible.

College News: How can college students reach out about mental health struggles?

Dr. Benton: Most campuses have a counseling center, counseling service or psychological services. Find your campuses service and learn about their programs and services. Typically, they offer a range of options.

CN: What kinds of mental health support facilities should students be looking out for when applying for colleges?

DB: Ideally, campuses should take a campus wide, comprehensive approach—including prevention, resilience training, counseling, groups, bystander education programs and other services. The Jed foundation, “Jed Campus” program works with a campus over a four-year period to insure the campus approach to mental health, substance abuse and suicide, are comprehensive and well-coordinated. Jed Campus designation is an excellent way to insure a campus has taken these issues seriously and thought out the best approaches for them.

CN: What are the most common and the most effective ways to deliver mental health therapy?

DB: Different people have different needs and respond to different approaches. Traditional face-to-face individual psychotherapy is the most common and best known. However, research has shown it is not more effective than group therapy or internet based cognitive behavioral therapy for many common problems. Many people also find self-help or apps effective for them.

CN: Do you think that students do not receive enough mental health help at college?

DB: I think most universities work very hard to meet the need, yet providing psychotherapy is really expensive and often difficult to access everywhere not just in universities. Using effective models such as stepped-care can help campuses to stretch limited resources to provide more help to more students. In stepped-care, students are quickly assessed and then begin with a level of help likely to be helpful. Progress is monitored regularly and students can be moved to more intensive or less intensive levels of help depending on their responses.

CN: How can campuses raise awareness and take a proactive approach to mental health?

DB: Campuses can raise awareness through the following: educational campaigns, resilience training in freshman orientation classes, bystander education programs like Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) or Kognito, education programs through Greek houses, residence halls, athletic departments, clubs and organizations.

CN: Are there exercises that students can practice on their own to help improve their mental state?

DB: Mindfulness meditation is something everyone should do. The many health benefits and mental health benefits would suggest that daily meditation should be as consistent as brushing your teeth. Another option is TAO Connect, which provides students access to its self-help courses whenever they want, without having to make an appointment to see a therapist.

CN: What is TAO Connect?

DB: We are a suite of online tools for mental health screening, assessment, patient education, skill development and progress monitoring. TAO can be used as self-help or with a therapist or case manager. TAO’s materials are interesting and engaging with actors in scenes, animations, interactive exercises and journaling.

CN: How can students take advantage of TAO Connect?

DB: There are 120 colleges in the US and Canada offering TAO’s programs to students either as self-help or through their counseling center. Contact your counseling center to find out if your school subscribes to TAO.

Further reading: You’re Not Alone: Facing Loneliness In College

Back to School

Back to School: Getting Around Campus

The first year at college is particularly exciting; for many students, this is their first home away from their parents, and with that brings a huge sense of freedom. But campus life in those first few weeks of semester can prove to be confusing, too. Learn to navigate your new campus and get settled in quickly with our top tips.

Orientation day

Most colleges offer orientation days when new students go back to school at the beginning of the fall semester. This day is a perfect opportunity to register, sign up to classes, learn about general rules and policies and get to know new peers and faculty. Not only this, new students will be given a guided group tour of the campus and the opportunity to explore independently so that when the first day of class arrives, students are more adequately acquainted with their new surroundings.

Map it

Maps, whether they be printed or downloaded and interactive, are a basic essential for a new student’s campus pocketbook. Familiarize yourself with the major locations situated on the map and keep it with you during the first weeks of college to easily locate classes, the library, the school’s health center and the student union. Alternatively, if you are unsure ask older students or members of staff for directions.

Public transport

Public transport for college students tends to be very reliable, frequent and (perhaps best of all) affordable. Check the campus’ bus terminal for routes around your new city and their scheduled times. You will likely need a student identification card for travel discounts, so make sure this stays in your purse or wallet at all times. Some universities also provide park and ride shuttle services so you can park your car outside of college grounds and get into campus easily.

Campus security

Colleges across the nation are upping their security measures amidst recent reports of attacks and crimes on campus—according to rainn.org, an astonishing 11.2 percent of all students in the US experience sexual assault alone. Prior to starting classes, find out who your campus security personnel are and take note of their contact details. Always try to walk in groups where possible when traveling across campus grounds (particularly in the dark, winter months) and endeavour to plan ahead by telling your roommates where you are going and when they should expect you home.

Back to school checklist

Do you have:

  • ƒ Campus map?
  • ƒ Campus security contact?
  • ƒ Student identification card?
  • ƒ Classroom locations/numbers?
  • ƒ Student Union location?

Further reading: Exploring Campus

Student Loan Debt

Dealing with Student Loan Debt

The most recent data suggests that US student loan debt is soaring at a dizzying pace. This past year, figures have shown that it now currently sits at around $1.4 trillion—yes, trillion. Shockingly, college tuition fees have increased almost 400 percent in the last 30 years while the average household income growth certainly has not, says news site theatlantic.com. Yet, while the nation places great importance on college education for a sustainable and thriving economic future, yearly university fees are still climbing, forcing people to take out giant student loans and some would-be students to forget about college altogether. According to The Washington Post, some four in 10 people who have attended college in their lives have taken out a loan to facilitate their studies. A report by the College Board released in 2016 found that the average debt attributed to those who took out a student loan to complete a bachelor’s degree was $28,400, but the reality is often much higher for many students. What is even more egregious about this situation, is that it is largely students from the least affluent backgrounds who take on the most student loan debt. Around a fifth of people who have student loan debt are also “falling back” on their payments, incurring penalties and sky-rocketing interest rates on top of an already huge sum.

Some think tanks are now arguing that the US government should eliminate student loan debt completely, saying that, in the long-term, these crippling bills will do nothing to bolster the country’s economy later down the line, and may actually damage it. But, unless this happens and college is still your goal, it is key to take into account all of the financial options available to you to help keep costs down as much as possible throughout your studies. Financial aid in the form of scholarships or non-repayable grants can slash student loan debts down by a considerable amount, and there are also many universities across the country who offer significant financial aid packages which cover up to 100 percent in tuition fees.

Five colleges with great financial aid packages

There is a wealth of colleges throughout the US—including major Ivy League universities—who offer financial aid to those who need it the most.

  1. Columbia University

One of the most expensive schools in the states, Columbia University’s tuition and fees reach $55,056 per year. Thankfully, the college offers a very attractive financial aid package, which comes to an average of $55,521.

  1. Harvard University

Harvard University is considered one of the most elite schools in the world, and the privilege of attending is reflective of its mammoth yearly fees which reach $47,074. But, like Columbia, it offers a great financial aid page of $51,308 to cover this—and then some. 100 percent of students who were eligible for this package’s needs were met.

  1. Yale University

Annual tuition and fees at this Ivy League school reach $49,480. Yale offers an average of $52,894 in their financial aid package, and 100 percent of students who utilized the financial aid package’s needs were met.

  1. Princeton University

With annual tuition and fees costing $45,320, Princeton University offers an attractive financial aid package which sits at an average of $49,502.

  1. University of Richmond

While annual tuition fees for the University of Richmond are around $50,910, the university offers a financial aid package is $45,784, making the remaining $5,000 or so a lot easier to cope with when it comes to paying fees.

It’s safe to say that student loan debt may be an inevitable part of studying, but there are options available to help alleviate financial pressures during your school years. Make sure to research the universities you might like to attend before applying. Some schools may offer substantial non-repayable grants to help cover the ever-increasing fees attached.

Further reading: Applying for a Post-Graduate Degree

Girl studies for post-graduate degree with head in her books

Applying for a Post-Graduate Degree

When we get to the end of our studies, many of us are at a loss as to the next steps in our careers and our lives. At this stage, it can be tempting to apply for a post-graduate degree.

After all, more time spent at college seems like fun!

But it is vital to go into post-graduate study for the right reasons. It is important to make measured decisions and not act on impulse or whim. At the end of the day, you will be investing a lot of time and—more importantly—money in the program. And some may question if a college degree is worth the effort.

Read on for useful tips to bear in mind when contemplating to apply for post-graduate study.

Don’t rush into it

First of all, you should think about whether heading straight back into studying is the right option for you. Maybe you should take a year out to relax and earn some cash before embarking on your next challenge.

Contrary to what you might think, many employers look favorably upon those who have removed themselves from their comfort zone to work and travel abroad. It demonstrates a certain quality of independence most employers will value.

Also, don’t simply go into post-graduate study because you want to stall your entrance into the ‘real world’. You should think carefully about whether the course you intend to enrol in is going to help you with your career down the line.

Rather than undertake a post-graduate degree because you’re unsure of the next step to take, you should ask yourself: will it be worth my time and money? Where will this course get me?

On that note, if you haven’t already, make some goals and objectives.

What are your goals with a post-graduate degree?

Before making any major life decision, it is always a good idea to set out some targets and goals.

In this case, some questions to get you started could include: what are you trying to achieve from your move into post-graduate study? What do you hope to get out of it? How will this course further your career ambitions—if at all?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to consider why you are thinking about a post-graduate degree. You should also reflect on whether you could achieve your career goals via other means.

Of course, some professions require a master’s degree or higher level of academic qualification. But others—such as journalism, business, finance and marketing—offer industry-standard qualifications at a fraction of the cost of a post-graduate degree. For this reason, think about how you can get better value for money.

Earn while you learn

Making money while studying is, for most of us, the only feasible way to fund a post-graduate degree. Therefore, it is crucial to consider if your chosen mode of study is compatible with part-time work. If not, you may struggle financially, making your degree more stressful than it needs to be.

Many post-graduate degrees offer the option of part-time study. Opting for this route will ensure you get the most out of your degree without compromising your ability to make ends meet.

Why not take a job in a café, bar or restaurant? Hospitality work can be a fun way to make new friends. You could even meet influential figures who might help you out.

Weigh up the rewards of a post-graduate degree

Think about what this course is going to do for you.

Will it help you obtain skills in employability? Or do you already possess those skills? Is the cost of the degree going to be outweighed by potential future earnings? Will you be able to pay back your loans?

All the above questions are vital when you consider a post-graduate degree. Think about their answers sensibly to avoid disappointment or a difficult financial situation later on.

Remember: be realistic about what post-graduate study is; it’s not a golden ticket to employment!

Be ready for a challenge

After you have deliberated on all of the above, if you still think a post-graduate degree is right for you, be ready to embrace a challenge.

Post-graduate study is much harder than undergraduate.

You will be expected to do more reading and researching than ever before. If you think this workload will be too tough, perhaps post-graduate study is not for you.

Think carefully about whether you are willing to devote a whole new year of your life to intense study. Post-grads are expected to explore their subjects in comprehensive depth and detail. Be prepared for this and bring your A game!

So, before you fill out that application form, consider the above tips to ensure you make an informed decision.