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Top Party Schools for 2012

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Couch Burning

Princeton Review has released its party school rankings for 2012 and it has Ohio University celebrating the fact that they are finally #1. Even though it is still 2011, Princeton Review likes to release the rankings in August to generate hype for its 2012 college guide book: The Best 376 Colleges.

The annual Princeton Review ratings are based on a survey of 122,000 students at 376 colleges. The ranking for Party Schools and Stone-Cold Sober Schools are based on students’ answers to questions concerning alcohol and drug use at the school, study time, and the popularity of the Greek system.

The top two party schools swapped spots this year from the last ranking with Ohio taking the title from Georgia (Fun Fact: both schools are located in a city called Athens). It’s no wonder Ohio is #1 after ranking tops in the "Lots of Beer" category and #2 in "Lots of Hard Liquor” as well.

Of course more and more are starting to question the methodology of the Princeton Review rankings and the rankings in general seem to be losing steam year after year.

Princeton Review's Top Party Schools for 2012

Schools on the “Party Schools” ranking are those at which student answers indicated low study time, high use of alcohol and drugs, and a highly popular Greek system.

  1. Ohio University
  2. University of Georgia
  3. University of Mississippi
  4. University of Iowa
  5. University of California Santa Barbara
  6. West Virginia University
  7. Penn State University
  8. Florida State University
  9. University of Florida
  10. University of Texas
  11. University of Illinois
  12. Syracuse University
  13. Louisiana State University
  14. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  15. DePauw University
  16. Indiana University
  17. Arizona State University
  18. University of Maryland
  19. University of Vermont
  20. University of South Carolina

Stone-Cold Sober Schools (Worst Party Schools)

Schools on the “Stone-Cold Sober Schools” ranking are those at which student answers indicated a combination of lots of study time outside of class, low use of alcohol and drugs, and a low interest in fraternities and sororities.

  1. Brigham Young University
  2. Wheaton College (Ill)
  3. Wesleyan College
  4. U.S. Coast Guard Academy
  5. U.S. Military Academy
  6. U.S. Naval Academy
  7. Calvin College
  8. Grove City College
  9. Pepperdine University
  10. City University of New York
  11. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  12. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
  13. U.S. Air Force Academy
  14. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  15. City University of New York -- Queens College
  16. Thomas Aquinas College
  17. University of Dallas
  18. Agnes Scott College
  19. College of the Ozarks
  20. Gustavus Adolphus College

Other categories in the Princeton Review rankings that relate to “partying” include:

Most Beer Drinkers

  1. Ohio University
  2. University of New Hampshire
  3. Claremont McKenna College
  4. Penn State
  5. West Virginia University
  6. University of Florida
  7. Providence
  8. Florida State
  9. Georgia
  10. Texas

Most Hard Liquor Drinkers

  1. Providence
  2. Ohio University
  3. Trinity College (CT)
  4. Tulane
  5. St. Bonaventure University
  6. Georgia
  7. Indiana
  8. Iowa
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Mississippi

Reefer Madness (Most Potheads)

  1. Colorado College
  2. University of California - Santa Cruz
  3. University of California - Santa Barbara
  4. University of Colorado
  5. Bard College
  6. Lewis and Clark College
  7. Warren Wilson College
  8. Eckerd College
  9. New College of Florida
  10. University of Vermont

Students Study the Least

  1. University of North Dakota
  2. Salisbury University
  3. University of Alabama
  4. University of Central Florida
  5. University of South Florida
  6. University of Mississippi
  7. Iowa
  8. LSU
  9. Florida State
  10. Maryland
 
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Can’t decide on a career? Try Job Shadowing

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Area Kodiak High School students shadow with Coast Guardsmen 1

Choosing a career is a tough process. It’s a lifelong decision and can be stressful thinking whether or not you are making the right choice. Not that your career choice is set in stone, just switching careers (majors) part way through college can become costly.

We’ve always suggested before selecting your major, consider taking a few related classes or even doing an early internship to make sure it's actually something you want to do. It’s been one of our top pieces of advice for college students (See: #64 in College Advice: 100+ Tips for Survival).

Here’s one student, Michael Warshafsky of Queen’s University, who is taking a similar approach. In an effort to decide on a career path, he is job shadowing 60 people in 60 days and in the process, blogging about his experience. Check out his website at sixtyinsixty.com/theproject.

What is Job Shadowing?

Job shadowing is a career exploration process that enables an individual to experience a profession in person by following (shadowing) a professional and observing a typical day of work in the field. Job shadowing is a great way to get to know the ins and outs of a profession and requires very little time commitment or effort on your part (compared to what you will get out of it).

Even those who already have an idea of what they would like to do should still job shadow to see if you actually like the work and want to make a career out of it.

Job Shadowing: 60 Jobs in 60 Days

Michael, who is currently about halfway through his 60 jobs in 60 days project, reports that the project is going very well with some of his favorite job shadows so far being city councilor, judge, journalist, publisher, dentist, and pediatrician.

So far the experience has helped him narrow down what he’s interested in: he really enjoyed job shadowing for both an optometrist and a dentist. “I could definitely see myself doing either of those careers and I probably wouldn't have known that without doing 60 jobs in 60 days.”

The project has been a learning experience. Not only has it given him a deep understanding of what many professionals do every day, he has earned himself some great business contacts. Talking and meeting with new professionals has also enhanced his interview skills as he gets comfortable with the practice he gets during the project.

Another valuable tip he learned: people will want to help you if you take the time to reach out in an honest way. Meaning if you know someone in a career field you are considering (or, even if you don’t know them), feel free to reach out, ask questions, and get advice. It’s always great to have some type of mentor who can help lead you down the right path.

While he regrets not starting the project earlier (It would have been nice to put the innovative project on college and scholarship applications), it will surely be a rewarding experience in the end. Once he completes his objective he should have a good idea of what he wants to go into and what he doesn’t.

Benefits of Job Shadowing
  • Career Direction. Will help with the career exploration process. Is this something I want to be doing the rest of my life?

  • Networking. You'll gain contacts in the industry who can answer questions and point you in the right direction providing advice on the chosen career path.

  • Valuable experience. Job shadowing will help you be more outgoing, improve your interview skills, and get you comfortable to these types of settings.
 
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Considering eTextbooks? Try a Free Trial

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Being able to download textbooks from the Internet saves you from the time and hassle it takes getting textbooks at the college bookstore. This form of textbook not only costs less, but is much easier to carry around. Now you can experience the ease and convenience of studying with eTextbooks for free.

CourseSmart is offering a free trial to those who wish to try out eTextbooks. CourseSmart is the largest provider of eTextbooks with a great selection that includes over 90% of the core textbooks in use today.

Simply head on over to CourseSmart and search for your textbook by Title or ISBN. Once you have selected your book, click on the ‘Start Free Trial’ button.

Free Trial from CourseSmart

You'll have free access to the online version of the eTextbook for 14 days or 50 page views, whichever comes first (An Internet connection is required anytime one wishes to view the online version of the eTextbook). When the free trial ends, you can purchase a subscription to the eTextbook if you wish to continue using it.

This free trial provides a great opportunity for students who have yet to use eTextbooks by giving them a chance to test the usability of digital textbooks. Some students will appreciate the convenience of using eTextbooks, while other students may find they still prefer traditional print textbooks when studying.

Other Details
To receive the free trial you will have to create a CourseSmart account. Registration requires a valid credit card to verify that you qualify for the free trial offer. A temporary $1 fee will be authorized to your credit card but no permanent charge from CourseSmart will appear on your bill for your participation in the Free Trial offer.

Start your Free Trial Now

 
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Amazon Kindle Textbook Rentals

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Today, Amazon.com announced the launch of Kindle Textbook Rentals, a new service that claims to save students up to 80% off the list price of a print textbook. The eTextbooks can be downloaded immediately after purchase and renters can choose their rental period (any length between 30 and 360 days), so you only need to pay for the time you actually need the book, rather than set intervals. Tens of thousands of titles will be available for the upcoming school year in the Fall. Check them out at Amazon.com/kindletextbooks.

Amazon Kindle Textbook Rentals
Renters can rent textbooks any length between 30 and 360 days

Prices Compared to Other Textbook Renters

At first glance, prices for textbook rentals on Amazon do seem affordable. When compared to other book renters, Amazon sits close to the top third when ranked by lowest cost, according to a recent study we did to find the cheapest textbook retailers. (The cheapest place we found to get textbook rentals was at CampusBookRentals.com, who rent out textbooks in their traditional form, rather than digital.)

We also found eTextbook rentals on Amazon to be much cheaper than (eTextbook) market leader CourseSmart.com, though CourseSmart does have more titles available in the digital format.

Other features of the Amazon Kindle Textbook Rental Program:

  • Easily extend any rental period in increments as small as one day.

  • Students can choose to purchase the book they are renting at any time.

  • When rental period ends, you still get to keep any annotations and highlighted content made in the book. These notes are made available in the Amazon Cloud and are available anytime, anywhere.

  • Kindle textbook rentals can also be read on other devices with free Kindle Reading Apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Android-based devices.
 
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Laptop with All-Day Battery Life: Imagine the Possibilities

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What would you do with a laptop that had all-day battery life? Where would you go? What study environment would you choose? Where would you take your work?

While most would probably say the beach, we didn’t think sand and water would be a good fit for our new toy (don’t get us wrong, we love the beach). So, we took our day out to what we considered the next best thing…an amazing view of the ocean from up top.

We’d soak up the sun in this study spot (soon to be mentioned in an upcoming CampusGrotto ranking of the most beautiful study locations) at Pepperdine University with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.

Studying at Pepperdine with the Sony Vaio
Imagine being able to study here all day without the worry of being plugged in. Image: CampusGrotto

The new Sony S Series claims to provide up to 15 hours of battery life, which would be a godsend to any student. Preliminary tests by firsthand users are already showing impressive results on performance and have users raving about the long-lasting battery.

While you probably shouldn't be on a laptop for 15 straight hours, it’s good to know that this type of battery life is possible without having to carry around plugin adapters that take up space and add weight to our bags. It's peace of mind knowing one doesn’t have to worry about battery life or their battery dying on them.

Our first full day using the laptop we were able to get just over 14 hours of battery life on the Sony VAIO with the sheet battery attached (see pic below). This was accomplished by using the 'Power Saver' power plan, setting the switchable graphics from Speed to Stamina mode, and setting the screen brightness to a low, but tolerable setting.

Sony VAIO with sheet battery

What would you do with all-day mobility?
Share your story and Enter to Win.

Do want to experience the luxury of all-day mobility? Here’s your chance. Share or tell your story of what you would do with a laptop (equipped with a battery) that lasted all day. Head over to the Windows Experience Blog, who is teaming up with Sony, to giveaway a brand new Sony S Series laptop.

Enter to win a Sony VAIO S series PC and a sheet battery.

To enter contest post a comment on this blog post about what you would do with your laptop if you were unplugged from the wall all day. You can also enter by sending the answer via Twitter to @windows using the #15hoursbatt hashtag. Winner will be chosen at random from all qualifying entries. Contest runs until July 17th at 7:00 PM PT.

Contest Details. Rules.

For those who don’t win, you can still get half off a sheet battery via Sony’s special offer: sony.com/batteryoffer. Students can get the sheet battery for free with the purchase of a VAIO S.

 
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Foodbot Helps College Students Find Free Food

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Food-bot

Imagine going five months without having to pay for food. Sounds like a dream come true for most on a typical student budget. Greg Woloschyn, a computer science major from Carnegie Mellon University, made it happen and now he’s sharing his tricks with a program he wrote for his new website, Food-Bot.

The Food-bot website currently lists free food events at 12 universities and is slowly expanding to other schools. (You can put in a request to get your school added here.)

Each school with a page on Food-bot has a main page that lists upcoming free food events in calendar format. There are one of two ways free food events get placed on the site: student groups can post event information manually or the Food-bot program searches upcoming events at the school, extracts free food event information, and posts it on the website.

Foodbot Screenshot
Food-bot lists upcoming free food events on the calendar

How it Started

When Greg was first searching for free food events he created a Gmail account and subscribed to several thousand mailing lists on campus. Using email filters, he was able to delete every email that didn’t contain a food-related word. The inbox was then left with emails that potentially contained events providing free food. This idea became the basis for the making of Food-bot.

Being a computer science major he knew there had to be an easier way. By applying complicated formulas he created a program that scans through all incoming emails, determines the probability of the document belonging to a particular category (free food or non-free food), and places each event classified as free food into a database that is displayed on the Food-bot website.

The program assigns ratings to each event listing on the level of food quality (steak, Jimmy John’s, and Chipotle get a 10), time commitment, and awkwardness for those who may attend. (If the event is an ethnic or religious meet up, it could be more awkward to come just for the food.)

While he realizes Food-bot isn’t completely perfect at finding free food on campus, it has helped students at 12 colleges find free food.

Food-bot currently lists free food events for the following colleges:
Stanford
Carnegie Mellon
UC Berkeley
Duke
Illinois
MIT
Pittsburgh
Wooster
Case Western
Johns Hopkins
Maryland
Purdue

The free food site has been getting some recognition. It won Carnegie Mellon’s Smiley Award back in March, which recognizes the best student development in technology that helps communication among people.

 
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Be ‘Charged and Ready’ this fall with the new Sony VAIO S-series

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Sony just launched its new VAIO S-series laptop (available for purchase starting June 19) and it’s something that is already being considered as one of the top laptops for back to school.

We just got our hands on a Sony VAIO VPC-SB11FX/W notebook for review and will be using it on a daily basis over the next few weeks and reporting on its performance over the long haul.

White Sony VAIO S-Series

At first glance, the VAIO S-series does seem to be a solid choice for students looking for a laptop for the upcoming school year. The notebook is built from magnesium and aluminum making it super lightweight and durable and perfectly portable at just 3.8 lbs. with a thin 1” profile. The backlit keyboard allows work to be done in dim/dark environments which can prove useful in classrooms and dorm-type environments.

Perhaps the greatest feature of this device is the mobility that can be obtained thanks to the notebook design and battery technology. The standard battery of the S Series is integrated into the laptop and can provide up to 7.5 hours of battery life. When coupled with the all new large capacity sheet battery (see pic below) battery life is doubled. The 15-hour battery makes this an ideal notebook for college and graduate students and others who need all-day mobility.

Sony VAIO with sheet battery

As far as cost, the new VAIO S-series starts at $899, which is a bargain for a high-end laptop. Check them out at sonystyle.com/sseries.

Features

  • 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i5 technology
  • Dedicated AMD graphics - AMD Radeon™ HD 6470M dedicated graphics card with 512MB of VRAM
  • Intel® Wireless Display
  • Processor Speed: 2.30GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.90GHz
  • 4GB memory
  • Storage Capacity: 500GB
  • Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Software: Microsoft® Office Starter, Adobe® Creative Software: Adobe Acrobat® Standard 9.0, Adobe Photoshop® Elements 8.0, Adobe Premiere® Elements 8.0
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Durable magnesium alloy casing
  • 13.3” (1366 x 768) widescreen display w/ LED backlight to ensure a bright display while conserving battery power.
  • Dimensions: 13.04" (W) x 0.95" (H) x 8.84" (D)
  • Weight: 3.80 lbs. (with Standard Battery)

The new VAIO S-series seems very comparable to the MacBook Pro, with the VAIO being thinner, lighter, more affordable, and available in multiple colors. Ordering through the Sony education store (with .edu email account) can get you 10% off the price of the laptop and service plan. The current ‘Charged and Ready’ deal at the Sony education store provides you with a free extended sheet battery (to give you up to 15 hours battery life) with the purchase of a new VAIO® S Series laptop. The Sony ‘Charged and Ready’ program lasts until July 17th.

For more info visit sony.com/batteryoffer.


Note: This post is part of program called "Charged and Ready" by Sony Electronics and Microsoft, where a group of college bloggers have been given a Sony VAIO S-series laptop to test and review.

 
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