Freebie Friday — Social Sweepster

October 31st, 2014 by


It’s that time of year again — time to start your holiday wish list! NextStepU wants to introduce you to some new (or new-to-you) products and services that you might want to include on your list this season.

This is the perfect gift to get from an aunt or grandma looking out for you. If you are submitting college applications this fall and winter, you will want to make sure your social media is prepped and ready for those searches from admissions officers. Yes, they really do search for candidates online. And yes, they have admitted publicly that social media accounts can make or break your acceptance to a college.

resultsDon’t take that chance, get Social Sweepster. Social Sweepster is an application that detects potentially unwanted content on social media profiles. Using algorithms, the tool scans Facebook and Twitter profiles for potentially incriminating content via text and object recognition.

Social Sweepster locates your photos, detecting objects such as beer cans, Solo cups and beer bottles, and then allowing users the option to delete or simply untag the images. In addition, text such as comments, status updates and Tweets with undesirable connotations are also flagged and narrated within a user-friendly report.

A scan can be conducted on one platform free of charge; however, this only uses text recognition. Full scans are available for $5, three for $12 or five for $15. The packages never expire and can be used on both platforms interchangeably.

Today we are giving away three free access codes to Social Sweepster. Fill out the below Rafflecopter app and three lucky winners will each receive an access code for their own Social Sweepster scan.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Social Sweepster Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 11/6/14. Three winners will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 11/14/14. The winners must respond to the email he or she receives in order to claim his or her prize. Any prize winner not responding by 12/14/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.



College prep made easy

October 30th, 2014 by

Magoosh-hs-futureOverwhelmed by the college admissions process? You should be! You’ve got thousands of colleges to choose from, each with a unique set of requirements for you to meet. Add to that the many voices out there telling what you must do and how to do it, and you have plenty of reasons to crumble to the ground when you think of the words “college prep”.

That’s why our friends at Magoosh SAT teamed up with CollegeXpress to put together a free (and pretty!) eBook that will guide you through this process. Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, you’ll find guidelines specific to you in the eBook. You can use it as a checklist to make college prep more manageable, or as a crash course to get up to speed on everything you need to know. You’ll also find tips for staying sane through the process, as well as advice for building your inner self while you go through your four years of high school.

So go ahead and dive in!

> Download the free eBook here and start reading your way to college acceptance.



Win with Fandango | Mockingjay

October 29th, 2014 by


Today we have a BONUS giveaway for you!

Wednesday, October 29 at 9 a.m. (PT) /12:00 p.m. (ET) advance tickets will go on sale at for Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” the year’s most anticipated movie, according to Fandango fans.

To celebrate the ticket-on-sale date, fans who purchase “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” tickets on Fandango within the first 24 hours will be automatically entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to attend the world premiere in London on November 10. All purchases during the first 24 hours will receive a free movie download on VUDU of the previous blockbuster in the series, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” See official rules on Fandango for prize details, approximate retail values and free alternate means of sweepstakes entry at

You can also win here! Fill out the Rafflecopter app below and you’ll be entered for a chance to win one of two $25 Fandango gift cards.

For more Mockingjay fun, check out “The Hunger Games Guide” at, featuring exclusive “Mockingjay” movie trailers and clips with Jennifer Lawrence, plus fun film facts, movie trailers, fan polls, new “Mockingjay” gift cards, the Ultimate Katniss Mash-Up, and “The Hunger Games” Character Guide for the uninitiated.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Fandango | Mockingjay Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 11/1/14. Two winners will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 11/8/14. The winners must respond to the email he or she receives in order to claim his or her prize. Any prize winner not responding by 12/8/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.


Why Halloween is way more fun in college

October 29th, 2014 by

The end of October typically inspires one thing in the minds of college students — Halloween! If you’re spending your first year away from home, the holidays might spark mixed feelings for you, but fear not — getting to celebrate at college is way more exciting than spending it at home.

You don’t have to venture far to take part in festivities
College campuses almost always have something going on for Halloween, whether it be a haunted house, a mixer or anything in between. Plus, check out school-sponsored trips that will transport you to haunted hayrides, corn mazes, and other hot Halloween spots — usually at no cost to students!

Or, if you decide to host your own Halloween party, your friends won’t have to venture far to partake in the festivities — they might even be sharing a room with you! Alternatively, friends who host their own parties will be within walking distance to you, preventing you from having to find transportation to and from where you’re going.

You can enjoy your last few years of trick-or-treating
To be honest, I stand by the notion that you are never too old to go trick-or-treating. However, it is sometimes frowned upon to continue the tradition if you over the age of 20 (how lame) and therefore your college years are the last of the years you have to go without being asked “aren’t you a little to old to be doing this?”

A couple of rules on this though:
1. If you are going, you MUST dress up. I remember rowdy youths coming to our door back when I was in middle school in their t shirts and sweatpants asking for candy and I wanted to deny them the pleasure for their lack of costumes but my mom was afraid we’d get TP’d if we did so and therefore they got off easy. But the message remains the same — don’t be like those youths!

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 3.09.14 PM

2. Don’t get greedy with your candy grabs. Think of the children! Like, the actual children, not you, no matter how old you really consider yourself.
3. Don’t stay out too late. The kind people handing out candy have to keep getting up every time you ring their doorbells and by the time 9:00 rolls around, most people (alright fine, by people I mean ME) are on their couches and do not appreciate having to leave said locale. Be courteous of other people’s time and properties.

You have many opportunities to put together couple/group costumes
Another benefit of living with your peers — plenty of time to come up with a really creative group costume. For example, my friends and I recreated the movie “Up” and it was adorable:

(l to r) Ellie, Kevin, Dug, Russell, Mr. Fredrickson

(l to r) Ellie, Kevin, Dug, Russell, Mr. Fredrickson

It was an awesome way to get creative with my friends and it also helps you to plan on a budget — all of our outfits came from something we borrowed, found in our closets, thrifted or found on clearance. Plus, I totally wear that tank top still. Without my Brownies sash, admittedly, but I wear it regardless.

You can snuggle up with Netflix if you so darn want to
Lastly, if Halloween is totally not your thing…skip it! Throw on your headphones, watch a movie, read a book and tune out all the crazy people running around in weird clothes in the freezing cold. You’ve got a blanket to attend to.


Laura-2014Written by Laura Sestito. Laura is the Editorial and Production Coordinator at NextStepU and graduated from Nazareth College. 


Trendy Tuesday — Last-minute Halloween on a budget

October 28th, 2014 by

Halloween is this Friday and if you’re scrambling to come up with a costume that is both quick and cheap, we have some ideas for you!

Check out these three costumes you can throw together on the cheap, but will still get people talking:


1. Katniss:

Katniss’s first movie look is easy to recreate. First, start with black basics like a v-neck tee or tank and some black skinny pants. Since she’s fighting in the wilderness, a jacket with lots of cargo room is essential and boots are necessary to shield her from the elements. Finally, no Katniss look would be complete without her signature bow & arrows and mockingjay pin.

Bow & Arrows | Black t-shirt | Jacket | Cargo pants | Boots | Mockingjay pin

2. Where’s Waldo

A classic costume that you can create using clothes you probably already have! This works great for both girls and boys and we dare you to hide in the background of all the pictures you take. ;)

T-shirt | Jeans | Beanie | Sneakers | Glasses

3. Meghan Trainor “All About That Bass”

THE song of the summer also came with a really cool music video — a look you can replicate for Halloween! Stick with pastels, girly florals and big jewels. Think retro with a modern twist.

Cardigan | Button-up shirt | Skirt | Tights | Flats | Flower headband | Brooch | Microphone



Major Monday — Major decisions

October 27th, 2014 by

Knowing what you want to be when you grow up can be difficult. Worst yet is having to declare four years in advance that you are positive you are on the right track. How’s a student to know for sure who he or she wants to be in four years?

We stumbled upon this great infographic on Pinterest last week and thought you might like to take a browse through it. The anticipated salaries as divided not only by jobs but by degrees is insightful. Plus the up-and-coming majors is a great way to help narrow down your choices to fields with potential for job growth.


Source: Pinterest

> Did you find this helpful? Follow NextStepU on Pinterest for more majors and career articles and graphics.



Freebie Friday — KIND

October 24th, 2014 by


It’s that time of year again — time to start your holiday wish list! NextStepU wants to introduce you to some new (or new-to-you) products and services that you might want to include on your list this season.

Today, we are sharing KIND with you. KIND makes delicious, all natural snacks from ingredients you can see and pronounce. KIND is a company focused on making the world a little kinder — one kind act and one snack at a time. Their founder created KIND in 2004 as he was frustrated by the lack of healthy, tasty convenient snacks available and decided to do something about it.

The winner of this week’s NextStepU Holiday Gift Guide giveaway will get a box of KIND Nuts & Spices bars. These bars are made with whole nuts flavored with delicious spices and have only 5g of sugar (or less). The Nuts & Spices bars are available in eight flavors, are a good source of protein, are high in fiber and lower in sugar.

We are giving away 1 box of Nuts & Spices, 1 KIND t shirt, a KIND coffee mug and a KIND water bottle to one lucky winner. Just fill out the Rafflecopter app below and be entered for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the KIND Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 10/30/14. One winner will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 11/7/14. The winner must respond to the email he or she receives in order to claim his or her prize. Any prize winner not responding by 12/7/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.



The most haunted college campuses

October 23rd, 2014 by

1.-Ohio-University-Athens-OhioIf you love a great scary movie, this list might not make you think twice about your college decision. In fact, it may make your college experience more interesting. Online Schools Center released a list of the 50 most haunted colleges.

Here are the top 10 on the list:

10. Gettysburg College – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
9.   University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia
8.   Kenyon College – Gambier, Ohio
7.   University of Northern Colorado – Greeley, Colorado
6.   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Urbana, Illinois
5.   Wells College – Aurora, New York
4.   East Tennessee State University – Johnson City, Tennessee
3.   Hollins University – Roanoke, Virginia
2.   Pennsylvania State University – University Park, Pennsylvania
1.   Ohio University – Athens, Ohio

According to their site, Ohio University was chosen number one because “most notably in Wilson Hall’s infamous room 428, where in the 1970s a female occupant started behaving oddly. The student began intoning in a strange tongue, alarming her friends, but before they could intercede the girl had plummeted to her death from a window. At the time, she was reportedly practicing astral projection – the supposed departure of the “astral” from the physical body. The room has moreover since been sealed shut, amid reports of eerie phenomena like unexplained voices and flying objects.”

You can read the complete list and spooky explanations for the choices on their website.


Scholarships — BURGER KING® Scholars Program

October 22nd, 2014 by


NextStepU is happy to help guide you toward scholarships and opportunities to earn money for college. Here is a new scholarship we found for you!

Scholarship:  BURGER KING® Scholars Program

Amount:  Most scholarships are non-renewable awards of up to $1,000. Awards cannot exceed educational costs. The number of awards will be determined by the funds available and the number of applicants.

Description: Scholarship grants range from $1,000 to $50,000, and are intended to help students offset the cost of attending college or post-secondary vocational/technical school. Recipients are selected based on their grade point average, work experience, extracurricular activities and/or community service.

Requirements: All high school seniors and all BURGER KING® restaurant, corporate and field employees, their spouses and children in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico are eligible to apply.

Deadline: The application period for the 2015-2016 school year begins on Oct. 15, 2014 and ends on Dec. 15, 2014.

Full rules and regulations can be found online.

Best of luck to those who apply!

> Want to continue your search? Take a look at NextStepU’s database of more than 2 million scholarships after you register at




Tuesday Tour Day – Salisbury University

October 21st, 2014 by

Salisbury profileSalisbury University is located on the historic Eastern Shore and resides 30 miles from the Atlantic beaches and is about two and a half hours from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It is a part of the University System of Maryland and it is a regionally accredited four-year comprehensive institution providing over 57 distinct graduate and undergraduate programs. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

This university has about 8,000 undergrad students and 640 graduate students. Students live on a residential campus, which resides in a rural setting in a large town. Some of the campus’s unique qualities include an art gallery, research center, museum of business and entrepreneurship, museum of wildfowl art, literacy center, blackbox theatre and a medical simulation center.

Salisbury University has numerous clubs and activities ranging from Greek life, music ensembles, dance activity, government and politics, literary magazine, a television station, a radio station and campus ministries. It also has multiple sports teams for both men and women that compete at the division three level.

Additionally, Salisbury University has four privately endowed schools, offering excellent, affordable education in undergraduate liberal arts, sciences, business, nursing, education and social work and applied master’s and doctoral programs. Their highest purpose is to empower their students with the knowledge, skills, and core values that contribute to active citizenship, gainful employment, and life-long learning in a democratic society and interdependent world.

The university is able to meet around 60 percent of financial aid needs and tuition costs are relatively low at $4,814 for full-time in-state tuition and $13,310 for full-time non-resident tuition. Room and board is listed as $8,070.

Their learning community is student-centered, where students are taught by professional educators in small classroom settings, faculty serve as academic advisors, and virtually every student has an opportunity to undertake research or experiential learning with a faculty mentor. They foster an environment where individuals make choices that lead to a more successful development of social, physical, occupational, emotional, and intellectual well-being.

> Learn more about Salisbury University and check out their profile at