Monthly Archives: April 2016

Coping With College Tuition Sticker Shock

 

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It’s an incredibly proud moment for your family when your teenager gets accepted into a great college. But right on the heels of that acceptance letter comes that first college tuition bill. You might be feeling a bit of sticker shock! Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Tuition costs have been rising steadily since the 1980s, and the price of a 4-year college this year promises to be even more wallet-shattering than last. It’s a lot to process. So how do you cope?

Take A Deep Breath

Chances are you have been staring at the bill now for several minutes and thinking, “That number can’t be right. It’s a typo. It’s an ink smudge.  I need new reading glasses.”  It’s ok. Put the bill down a moment. Take some slow, deep breaths. Remind yourself that college is only four years.

Remember: Colleges Aren’t Trying To Profit

You might be thinking, “How did tuition rates get this bad? Are the colleges going broke?” Nope. College tuition is increasing because of a wide array of factors including improved services at the colleges, a higher cost of living, and the steep decrease in public funding of colleges. Today, an Ivy League education can run over $200,000. Even a degree from a state school can cost $40,000. So while it might seem like tuition is outrageous, it’s still as low as it can be.

Don’t Worry: There Is Help

There is more hope than you think. Some colleges do have the power to ease your pain. You may want to call the Financial Aid Department and inquire about any aid packages for which your child may qualify. Colleges welcome these calls and are usually quite helpful in discussing current financial aid options. Grants and scholarships change often, so be sure to get a complete list of the most current offerings available. Also, look at some ways you can reduce costs. For example, students who commute from home, or who live with roommates in off-campus housing, can save on expensive dorm and dining hall fees.

Take A Look At Loan Options

When the storm clouds have cleared a bit, you may realize there are more options than you had imagined. For example, two types of federal loans (Stafford loans and Perkins loans) can help you space out the payments for your kids’ college for up to a decade after their graduation—and these loans carry lower interest rates than other federal loans. Also, some colleges let you pay monthly, to avoid being hit with a single daunting bill.

Remember WHY College Is Important

Remember too, what your money is buying. A college education is prerequisite to many emerging jobs in fields like technology, life science, business, and education. So what you’re really buying for your child is the choices that will affect their ability to advance in the future and to realize their full potential. In the meantime, however, they may still be bringing home their laundry. After all, it’s cheaper that way.

How You Can Make A Difference This Earth Day

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We’re excited to have Noa Ohcana, our Foot Patrol member at the University of Chicago, share a wonderful blog post about ways you can make a real difference for Earth Day. Here at League Collegiate Outfitters we also take steps to help our environment, such as using only water-based ink. These tips, however, can show you how, as the average person, you can make a difference.

On April 22nd, we celebrate Earth Day. In an age where we have access to volumes of information about topics such as climate change and global warming, it’s surprising how little we know about how our actions affect our collective home.

All it takes are some small lifestyle changes to make a big impact! What can you do to help? Here are some tips:

Add More Plants Into Your Diet

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Greenhouse gases are basically gases that make up the atmosphere and absorb the infrared radiation reflected off of the Earth’s surface, trapping heat. Rising temperatures have significant impact, from rising sea levels to severe weather. Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases plays a tremendous role in alleviating the effects of climate change.

What most people don’t know is that meat and dairy production is a HUGE contributor to the creation of these gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. A simple and easy way you can help is to lower the amount of meat and dairy you eat. It may be hard at first, but here are some delicious recipes to help get you started- one for each meal of the day!

Build Exercise Into Your Daily Commute

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Next, behind meat and dairy production, another known contributor to greenhouse gases is exhaust from transportation vehicles. What can you do to help? Ride public transit or carpool whenever possible. It takes only slightly more effort to make big changes. When it’s nice out, even try to forego using your car and bike or roller blade! It saves you from finding extra time to exercise (you build it into your transportation time) and is also friendlier to the Earth.

Turn Off and Unplug

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A great way to save money while helping the environment is by reducing your electricity usage. Turn off and unplug devices in your home when you’re not using them. Even something as simple as turning off lights when you leave a room can help, and many utility companies actually offer rebates for switching both your appliances to less wasteful versions and your light bulbs to CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) light bulbs.

Bring Your Own Mug or Bottle

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It’s time to make the change and be that reusable coffee mug or water bottle carrying person! Many cafes and coffee shops actually offer discounts for bringing your own mug. Helping the environment and saving money is a win-win. Pro-tip: most Starbucks cafés actually have reusable mugs alongside their disposable cups on hand. That said, if you’re going to sit there for a while, ask for your drink in one of their mugs. If you’re on the go, the next best thing is to be sure to recycle. 

Pop Some Tags At Your Local Thrift Shop

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Treating the Earth better revolves around consumption. One big way that you can reduce your consumption is by frequenting your local second-hand shop. They are great places to find affordable clothing and housewares that allow you to be mindful about the earth and your budget. If you’re not down for the “thrill of the find,” just be mindful of what you’re throwing out or simply not using in your own home- many of these items can be donated for others to reuse.

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It’s easy to go about your day, participating in behaviors that feel completely disconnected from the Earth. But this Earth is our home and we need to respect it and acknowledge the repercussions of our actions. Whether it’s eating less meat or dairy, using public transportation more often, turning off a light switch, carrying around a to-go coffee mug, or buying second-hand items, it’s important for us to understand how we affect our Earth. If there’s any message to take away on this Earth Day 2016, it’s to be conscientious — future generations will thank you!

Tips For Studying For Finals

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Here’s another great post from our lovely Penn State Foot Patroller Anna Schweidler. This month she tackles the best ideas for studying for finals! Look for great Penn State Campus tips, too.

It’s April! You know what that means! Warm weather, lying out on Old Main lawn, playing frisbee with your friends! Right?

Sadly, it also means it’s time to start studying for finals! WHOOHOOO STUDYING! We all just love studying for that one exam — the one that can either make or break your grade. No stress, am I right?

Let’s be real, no one enjoys cramming in the library for hours at end while sleep deprived, surviving solely on coffee. That’s why I’m here — to help you find plenty of ways to make your studying more productive and enjoyable.

STUDY YOUR SURROUNDINGS

I’ll let you in on a secret: if you’re sitting in the same desk, in the same room for twelve hours consecutively, trying to learn everything in the 30-page review your chemistry professor gave you for class — well, you will be miserable. You will also probably start online shopping or checking Instagram, or basically anything that distracts you from the task at hand.

This can easily be fixed by changing up your location and surroundings. Personally, I cannot study in my room at all. I start off sitting at my desk and before I know it I’m wrapped up in my bed, 6 episodes deep into Friends on Netflix. It happens.

I remove myself from my room, but I also avoid places that can be too crowded to focus. So where do I study here at Penn State? The Life Science Bridge is great, not many people go there, it’s quiet and most importantly they have comfy seats. There is also a great view and it’s super close to the HUB if you need to grab food or meet with people from your class to work on group projects. I LOVE The Stacks in the library. I could literally live in the stacks honestly. It’s quiet and when you sit there it’s just you and your desk. All distractions are removed. The Barnes and Noble Bookstore Cafe is my hidden gem, probably the best place to do work on campus. There are tons of outlets to charge your laptop, too.

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Penn State’s Stacks

BOOST YOUR FOCUS

So you’ve changed up your location but you still can’t seem to focus. Here’s a trick for you: have your friends change your social media passwords on your phone — and don’t let them tell you what it is. Once finals are over, they can give you back your password. I did this last semester, and it worked wonders. The first day was hard, but after the initial withdrawal, I became so much more productive.

Taking out your phone when taking a quick study break is the easiest way to get distracted. You tell yourself, “Oh, I’ll just check Instagram really quick,” and twenty minutes later you’re stalking your ex-boyfriend’s sister’s cousin’s best friend. Don’t try to act like you aren’t guilty of this. Locking yourself out of your social media for a little to focus on studying is the best decision you can make. Plus you’ll avoid taking snapchats like these and questioning your life choices.

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SELF CONTROL

There is a wonderful app that you can download onto your computer for FREE! This app lets you create a blacklist of websites, you put distracting websites on the list then set the timer for however long you plan on studying. Once you start the timer you can’t edit the black list at all, and if you try to go on a website listed on it, it will say webpage cannot be found. It’s basically a recipe for focus! The app is called, naturally, Self Control. You’ll find some other great apps for college students here.

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MOMENTUM

So this is more for aesthetic purposes, but Google Chrome has an extension called Momentum. When you download this application, every time you open Chrome a page will open displaying super pretty and scenic destination with the time in large print and also a nice little greeting such as “Good afternoon, Anna”. Then in the corner it has the current weather outside, and an inspirational quote at the bottom to keep you motivated. There is also a line where you can fill in your main focus for the day. I love this application, it just makes me smile every time I open the internet — which is often when I’m studying.

I hope some of my tips help make your studying more enjoyable and productive. Now go out there and kill those exams! 

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