Holiday Gift Guide for Students

November 27th, 2015 by

It’s Black Friday! You know what that means — time to panic and feel unprepared for the holiday season. Whether your family is pestering you for ideas on what to buy you, or if you are agonizing over what to buy your brother or best friend, getting ideas is always helpful.

Take a peek at some of the things we think most high school and college students need this holiday season. 


Find these great ideas:
Great Useful Stuff – Quick Cord Plug Pouch 
Spotify – Student-discounted subscription
Birchbox – 3-month gift subscription
Speck – Jonathan Adler iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases
Amazon – Gift cards
The Grommet – Whooz? iPhone vinyl identification stickers
TP-Link – Archer C7 Wi-fi Router
TP-Link – Power Bank

I think we’ve given you some good ideas to get you through the big shopping weekend.

Stop back December 4th – 11th for giveaways and more gift ideas for students. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to win some of these gifts (for yourself!).


Trendy Tuesday — Coffee Mugs to Get You Through the Holidays

November 24th, 2015 by

Thanksgiving officially kicks off the holiday season which means a lot of fun activities are on the horizon! The holidays are undoubtedly a joyous time of year — but also can be a stressful one. That’s why it’s important to keep your mug full of coffee (or hot chocolate or tea or whatever is your hot beverage of choice) to keep on powering through. But don’t just reach for a plain old coffee mug — a cute style will be easy to keep refilling, even once you’ve written your fifth paper. Here are some great options to get your creativity flowing!

fearlessly_authentic_lifestyle1. Fearlessly Authentic Mug

Why should works of art be limited to your wall? This mug is for the individual who is not afraid to speak her mind and wants to show that sentiment off. You won’t want to stop toting this mug around!

sincerely_sassy_lifestyle2. Sincerely Sassy Mug

If shade is your middle name, this is the mug for you. Just because you’re sassy doesn’t mean you can’t look classy while doing it! This mug is a piece of art in and of itself but when you bring the sass too — you can’t lose.

ha_ha_no_mug3. Ha Ha Ha!…No. Mug

If Grumpy Cat had a mug (or, you know, thumbs to drink out of it) we think this would totally be his mug of choice. For when you just #canteven fake one more laugh around your not-funny Uncle Albert, just tote this mug around for extra support. The caffeine rush might be just what you to lift the corners of your mouth enough to not offend any of your distant family members.

giraffe4. Giraffe Painted Mug

This mug is literally your spirit animal. When you just need to chill out with a cup of coffee, do as the giraffes do — if they were coffee drinkers that is. This style also comes in fox, goat and panda varieties so whatever kind of animal your coffee mate is, you know you can sip with your kindred spirit.

For more college, career and life advice visit!


Major Monday — Film Studies

November 23rd, 2015 by

career-filmFor many people, going to the movies is a form of entertainment. But, what some don’t consider is that it is also a form of art, reflecting the values and cultural phenomenons that happen in our society. As a film studies major, you will analyze film in such a fashion and use your skills in analysis to develop and shape your own film productions in the future.

This degree is typically earned at the bachelor’s level. While earning your degree, courses you can expect to take include film theory, acting and directing, critical writing about film, film technology, film and social issues, neorealism to contemporary film and video art. Expectedly, you will be watching a lot of film, but you should also be prepared to do a lot of research and writing in regards to analyzing films for cultural and social significance.

What to know before you apply
While film studies is an excellent major if you’re interested in the theory of film, also make sure you consider how this major will help you find a career post-graduation. If you’re interested more in creating film, make sure the schools you look at focus on that aspect of film studies; and, conversely, if you plan to focus on writing and analysis, look for schools with that focus.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, film editors earned an average of $46,280 per year as of 2012.


Scholarships — Teens for Jeans

November 18th, 2015 by


Every year, over a million young people in the US experience homelessness. One item they request often? A pair of jeans.

Scholarship: Teens for Jeans from

Amount: (1) $5,000 college scholarship

Description: is launching the 9th annual Teens for Jeans campaign where participants help collect gently-used blue jeans in their schools and communities to be distributed to shelters throughout the country.

In addition to providing an important clothing item to others in need, participants also have the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship! Every two pairs of jeans count an entry. The more pairs you collect, the more chances you have at winning.

Requirements: Unlimited, every 2 pairs of jeans donated counts as a lottery entry for the scholarship. No minimum GPA or essays required. Must be 13 to 25 years old to apply. It is only open to those residing in the U.S. and Canada or those who hold citizenship in the U.S. or Canada.

• Sign up for Teens for Jeans at

• Once you’ve signed up for the campaign, start collecting! Be sure to snap pictures and then deliver the jeans to your local Aéropostale.

• Submit a photo for every entry at These will count as your chances to win a $5,000 scholarship!

Deadline: Open from November 16, 2015 to February 29, 2016.

For more information: Visit

Best of luck to those who participate!

> 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 — The College of New Jersey

November 17th, 2015 by

tcnj prespectiveThe College of New Jersey (TCNJ), located in Ewing, NJ, is a highly selective institution that has earned national recognition for its commitment to excellence. Founded in 1855 as the New Jersey State Normal School, TCNJ has become an exemplar of the best in public higher education and is consistently acknowledged as one of the top comprehensive colleges in the nation. We’re taking a virtual tour of TCNJ on this week’s Tuesday Tour Day!

As a liberal arts college, TCNJ offers a wealth of degree programs through its seven schools — Arts & Communication; Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Education; Science; Nursing, Health, & Exercise Science; and Engineering. You can also partake in the school’s honors program and choose from extensive opportunities to study abroad.

Campus life
TCNJ’s campus is set on 289 tree-lined acres in suburban Ewing Township, N.J. The College has 39 major buildings, including a state-of-the-art library, 14 residence halls, an award-winning student center; more than 20 academic computer laboratories, a full range of laboratories, a music building with a 300-seat concert hall and a collegiate recreation and athletic facilities complex. On campus, you can get involved in more than 150 clubs and organizations in a variety of fields, as well as professional and honor societies, Greek organizations and student government.

If sports is more your scene, you can partake in several Division III programs. TCNJ has established itself as one of the nation’s most successful Division III (non-athletic scholarship) programs. Since 1979, The College of New Jersey has amassed a total of 39 Division III crowns in seven different sports. For men, choose from baseball, basketball, cross country, football, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and wrestling. For women, choose from basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field.

For more information about the College of New Jersey and to request information, visit their profile at


Leadership and teamwork skills land jobs

November 16th, 2015 by

iStock_000004752194Small (1)Employers considering new college graduates for job openings are looking for leaders who can work as part of a team, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

When participants in NACE’s Job Outlook 2016 survey were asked which attributes — beyond GPA — they look for on a candidate’s resumé, four out of five said they look for evidence of leadership skills and more than 75 percent cited the importance of teamwork skills.

Written communication skills and problem-solving skills — which are both sought by more than 70 percent of employers — are also highly valued, as are verbal communication skills and a strong work ethic.

Employers also noted that leadership skills have the most significant influence on their decision to hire one candidate over another.

Top 5 attributes employers seek on a candidate’s resumé

• Leadership (80%)
• Ability to work in a team (79%)
• Communication skills | written (70%)
• Problem solving skills (70%)
• Communication skills | verbal (69%)

Source: Job Outlook 2016, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Top 5 influence of attributes on hiring decision

• Major
• Held a leadership position
• Has been involved in extracurricular activities
• High GPA (3.0 or higher)
• The school attended

Source: Job Outlook 2016, National Association of Colleges and Employers

As a high school or college student, you can see where the vital areas of importance are. You will need to give examples of leadership, an excellent ability to communicate and do well in school in order to get the attention of employers.

Keep these key areas in mind as you make your decisions leading up to and while you are in college.

> For more career information, visit


How important is study abroad?

November 12th, 2015 by

iStock_000009589705SmallApplying to college is synonymous with defining one’s personality, telling one’s story, and explaining what your expectations of college are to complete strangers — strangers who are tasked with deciding if you’ll be accepted to an institution of higher learning or not.

“I never imagined we would reach this level of competition in the application process,” says Chris Chabaudie, Executive Director of Magellan Study Abroad since 2006. “Our goal has always been to help American teens experience new cultures and improve a new language. In the process they are exploring their independence and gaining self-confidence. This all occurs outside of a teen’s usual circle of friends and family. But over the last few years, language immersion programs have gained new traction.”

With increased competition during college admissions, study abroad is now praised by college coaches and high school counselors for numerous reasons. Study abroad during high school demonstrates a serious desire for foreign language proficiency and an interest in deep cross-cultural knowledge. Both traits are often considered by admissions boards to be huge assets for their student bodies.

Foreign language learning has always attracted students with curiosity and perseverance, those who are ready to dedicate themselves, not only to a new language and its strenuous discipline, but also to a new culture. The new generation of participants is now aware of the dramatic advantage it will give them. No matter the motivation, study abroad programs help high school students stay engaged by reinvigorating their passion for learning. Furthermore, these programs often allow students to skip a language level upon return. Pursuing a foreign language even after having met minimum graduation requirements is a profound statement for any student applying to college.

Proficiency in a foreign language is also a marketable skill. It not only helps when applying to college, it’s an incredible asset to have in the workforce. With a successful program abroad under their belt, high school graduates will eventually go to college with high expectations towards studying abroad. The growing numbers of teens spending a summer abroad in high school will impact the number of college students studying abroad, a figure that has doubled in the last 15 years. High school language immersion has finally proven its worth. What’s more, this new generation of Americans will be living proof that seeing the world through a multicultural lens has a much greater and positive impact at a younger age.

Written by Magellan Study Abroad, a summer immersion program for high school students in a selection of countries. Scholarships are available. 


5 ways to have a great interview

November 11th, 2015 by

Whether you’re a high school student getting your first part-time job or a college student applying for a job or internship or anything in between, making a good impression on an interview is a difficult — but important — task to conquer.

Don’t go in there unprepared!

Career coach Linda Quast, author of the book “Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach: A Foolproof Guide to Getting the Job You Want Every Time” (, talks about ways to make your interview a success.

1. Anticipate interview questions and prepare answers.
There are five groups of questions you should consider for the interview: your background; familiarity with the field/industry; your functionality and competency for key aspects of the job; your style and personality; and how you see your future. It’s helpful to think about questions the hiring manager might ask and prepare how you could respond.

2. Prepare questions for the employer.
Good questions indicate to hiring managers that you know what you’re talking about. Consider questions about the character of the company; the history, nature and future prospect of the open position; and the department.

3. Conduct practice interviews. The more you do something, the easier it gets, and practice runs will not only help your interview performance but also help you consider further the content or substance of the discussion. Conduct mock interviews with someone you trust. And when you get to the interview, remember to be yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality. Companies hire real people, not robots.

4. Ensure all documents are ready for the interview. Preparedness says so much in an interview. It’s better to have documents and not need them than vice versa. Have multiple copies of your resume and reference list. Recommendation letters may not be required, Quast says, but they’re good “leave behind” documents. Other items that will either be necessary or useful include the job description, portfolio of your work, paper and pen.

5. Dress for positive impact. The dot-com era ushered in a more casual approach, but the recession brought back a more “dress for success” style. Dress appropriately for the position and also the geography. For example, a jet-black pantsuit in Florida during August will make you uncomfortable and make you look out of place. Match your attire with the image of the company.

For more career advice, visit for articles, videos, resources and much more!


Major Monday — Counseling Psychology

November 9th, 2015 by

iStock_000003534853_MediumDo you have a good ear to listen to other people’s issues? Are you patient, kind and discreet? If this sounds like you, then a career in counseling psychology may be a great major for you!

A major in counseling psychology typically leads to a master’s degree. As an undergraduate, you will typically major in psychology or a related social science and complete your schooling at the master’s degree level. Typical courses you can expect to take include biological basis of behavior, child psychology, social psychology, theories and methods of counseling and personality theories. Be prepared to complete a research project involving psychological theory and be ready to put your theory into practice.

What to know before you apply
The school you apply to will either offer this degree as an arts or science degree. Decide which better suits your needs and goals before applying to a certain program. Additionally, as a career, psychology and counseling can be a very draining and emotionally exhausting profession. Make sure you are capable of handling all sorts of situations before deciding on this career path and major.

According to, psychologists and counselors earned an average of $74,030 per year as of May 2014.


Scholarship — Scholars Helping Collars

November 5th, 2015 by


Do you have a pet in your life? Are you a student graduating Class of 2016? P.L.A.Y. wants to hear your story!

Scholarship: P.L.A.Y. Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship

1st Prize – One Scholarship valued at $1,000
2nd Prize – One set of Warm Bellies Special Edition Chill Pads (10 beds) to be donated to an animal shelter of your choice*
3rd Prize – One Garden Fresh plush toy set (5 toys) to be donated to the animal shelter of your choice*
*Prizes ship to U.S. animal shelters only and must be located within the 48 contiguous states

Description: To apply, students will submit an essay with 2-3 photos of their volunteer efforts to help animals in need and how that involvement has changed their lives or shaped their perceptions on the importance of animal welfare.

  • The essay should be between 500-1000 words.
  • Send a Word doc attachment to SCHOLARSHIP@PETPLAY.COM with your essay submission.
  • The file name should be your full name, state, and date of birth. For example,
  • 2-3 photos of your volunteer efforts to help animals in need
  • In the body of your email, include student’s full name, date of birth, email address, postal address, high school they are currently enrolled in, and a phone number to contact.

Failure to provide any of these terms listed above will result in automatic disqualification.

Requirements: The contest is open to U.S. residents. No purchase necessary. All participants must be enrolled as full-time high school juniors or seniors. Entries are limited to one submission per person. Immediate family members of P.L.A.Y. employees are excluded from this contest.

Deadline: All essay submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, February 15, 2016.

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