Freebie Friday — Caboodles

November 21st, 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.

For today’s deal, we have some sparkle for the ladies. Now guys, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to win or pay attention to this week’s prize! Your girlfriend, best gal pal, sister or even mom will be impressed with you if you give the gift of glitter this holiday season. (But on another note, guys… we have a GREAT “guy” giveaway for you next week. Seriously… don’t miss it!)

This Glitter Train Case from Caboodles, a leader in cosmetic organization. Caboodles has an extensive collection of cases for makeup, hair accessories and so much more. Available at many retailers like Walmart, Ulta and Target, this Glitter Train Case is approximately $45.

Today you have the chance to win one of these fun, sparkly train cases from Caboodles! Just fill out the Rafflecopter app below and you’ll be entered into the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Caboodles Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 11/27/14. One winner will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 12/5/14. 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 1/5/15 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.



Once upon a time: How stories prep you for the SAT

November 20th, 2014 by

Happy student portraitIf you’ve taken the SAT before or done any studying, you probably realize that for the most part, SAT reading can be a bit dull. It depends on your taste, of course, but I don’t know many high-schoolers who really love reading about the political opinions of Frederick Douglass (who was badass, if you give him the chance). But it’s not all bad news—not if you like reading fiction, at least. There will always be a bit of fiction on your test, which can be a bit more enjoyable.

And enjoyable is a really, really good thing. Occasionally, I have students who think that they shouldn’t enjoy reading anything on the SAT, under the assumption that they’ll somehow be more diligent if they’re reading “seriously.” But really, the more you’re engaged with what you’re reading, the better you’ll understand it and remember the details after you finish. And that’s what SAT reading comprehension is all about. So when you hit that fiction excerpt, take a deep breath and enjoy it. Picture the characters in your head; try to identify with their personalities and feelings.

It’s not just the critical reading section, either. If you read fiction for fun, that can be a huge advantage during the SAT essay, too. If you know much about the essay, you’ve probably heard that it’s partly an exercise in how well you can fudge it. You don’t need to have facts, reliable sources, or anything even remotely authoritative to make your argument. You just need to tie a couple of well fleshed-out examples to your thesis and reasoning. And those examples can come from pretty much anywhere, including literature. It doesn’t matter that the people you’re writing about weren’t real people, or that the events you cite as evidence might be completely preposterous; that’s not what your writing is judged on. So make use of any and every story you know well. It helps to make a list before test day of the books that you can draw examples from. That way, you can mentally cycle through them as you plan your essay, instead of grasping blindly into your memory of everything you’ve ever read or heard. (Granted, it also helps to give examples from other realms as well—especially history or current events—so don’t limit that list to just fiction.)

Besides all that, simply put, the more you read, the more vocabulary you know. Well, maybe not if the epitome of your reading career is Dr. Seuss—”wumpus” will not be on your SAT, nor will “sneetches”—but as long as you’re reading books that are relatively age-appropriate, you’re bound to learn some new words here or there, and that can be massively helpful for sentence completion questions.

TL;DNR—You like fiction? Great. That helps you with reading comp, the essay, and vocabulary questions.

magooshsat-imageWritten by Lucas Fink, resident SAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in SAT Prep.

You can learn more about Magoosh on our SAT blog, and you can get $50 off 1 month of prep here!


Cool resource —

November 19th, 2014 by

There are many firsts that you experience once you go to college, but one of the most challenging can be getting your first apartment. Learning how to balance rent, maintaining your living space and dealing with roommates can be a learning process, especially when it comes to managing finances. hopes to alleviate some of the stress that comes from sharing an apartment. Their simple three-step process starts with you creating a bill, then adding your roommates and finally sending them an invoice of their share.


The best part about this app is that it links directly to your PayPal account. Once you verify your email address, your roommates can pay you directly online, letting you avoid the headache of collecting multiple checks and depositing them before your rent is due. Plus, no one can argue that they’ve already paid you rent — everything is recorded in your PayPal account.

Remember, when you get your first apartment (whether on-campus or not), it’s important to stay up on your costs. This is one of your first opportunities to show true responsibility — make it count!


Tuesday Tour Day – Marshall University

November 18th, 2014 by

marshall_profile_13-14Marshall University is a public university located in Huntington, West Virginia. The historic campus was established in 1837. In recent decades the school has undergone significant growth through building the Drinko Library, the Jomie Jazz Center and their Graduate College. The university is a multi-campus public university that provides innovative undergraduate and graduate education that contributes to the development of society and the individual.

The university offers over 50 baccalaureate programs and 50 graduate programs. It also boasts a 19 to 1 student/faculty ratio. Students who qualify can participate in an Honors Program designed to give students an enhanced curriculum. Business and education are among the most popular programs. Students can find help from an abundance of faculty members made up of a staff of over 600 individuals.

Students have the opportunity to join clubs, Greek life, participate in Student Government, produce or perform in a major concert, take part in a talent show, enroll in a leadership course, mentor and tutor a child, or play a sport. Anyone can find their niche with all that the college has to offer.

Marshall offers diverse options for campus housing ranging from suites to singles. Residence halls offer work out facilities, dining halls, build in closets, carpeting, air conditioning and secure key card access.

Recently, the university build a state-of-the-art student recreation center and residence hall complex. This initiative was done to draw more students from across the region and expand amenities. They will continue develop two more learning residence halls that are located adjacent to the new recreation center.

Marshall University resides in a safe, picturesque city with hospitals, libraries, restaurants, a renowned museum, a city-wide park, and nearby factories for making hand-blown glass. Concerts and theatrical productions take place in outdoor amphitheaters located in the park and along the riverfront. It’s also located just across the Ohio River from Ohio and 13 miles away from the Kentucky boarder.

The University strives to make college affordable for you no matter where you’re from. They offer a wide variety of scholarships and financial aid. They award over 3.5 million in scholarships each year and 60% of Marshall University students receive financial aid assistance in the form of grants, loans, student employment and academic scholarships.

> Learn more about Marshall University at



Major Monday — Architecture

November 17th, 2014 by

iStock_000018002727SmallArchitecture is grounded in science and math but its heart is in the arts giving students with both interests the best of both worlds. After all, well-designed buildings not only serve the people who use them but also works of art that define the town or city in which they reside.

Students who study architecture train and prepare to become professional architects. Their course load consists of topics such as architectural theory, design, and history in addition to drafting and project and site planning.

As an architecture student, you’ll take a design studio course nearly every semester. In these classes, you’ll apply what you learn in other courses in a practical, hands-on setting. The instructor will assign a project with certain requirements, and you’ll spend long hours designing your structure.

You’ll solve problems, make drawings, build models, and fine-tune the results. Once you’ve finished — or the due date comes along — you’ll make a formal presentation to the class. Your instructor and fellow students will respond with comments.

Similar majors include architectural engineering, city, community and regional planning, industrial product design, landscape architecture and studio arts. Architecture majors can obviously work as architects, but also as conservators, interior designers, landscape architects  and urban and regional planners.

What to know before you apply
When it comes to majoring in architecture, it helps to be a creative problem solver. Also, because architects never work alone, it also helps to be good at working with other people and have strong teamwork skills.

If you’re a high school student aspiring to become an architect it might be helpful to take courses in AP Art History, studio art, photography, drafting/technical drawing, computer and graphic arts and computer-assisted drafting.

Questions to ask before deciding
It’s very important to verify that the program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. You’ll find that some programs stress the studio-art side of the field and some focus their emphasis on the engineering side. Choose which accentuates your skillset and go from there. With any major, you want to seek out the background and philosophies of professors, what kind of work are current students doing, how often do design studios meet and how many students are in each class. Looking into technology is also important because some schools have unlimited access to studios and labs and others will require you to have your own materials to work independently.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, architects make about $80,000 a year depending on location and company size.


Freebie Friday —

November 14th, 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.

For today’s deal, we have the Healthy Care Package from RedShip’s Healthy Care Package costs $44.95 and ships in RedShip’s signature red cylinder made from recycled material. All the goodies are packed inside a jumbo size laundry bag. A fun reusable rapid Ramen cooker and chopsticks are also included.

Filled with about 20 healthy snack items, the Healthy Care Package was voted “Most Loved” by students who received it.

Today you have the chance to win a Healthy Care Package! Fill out the Rafflecopter app below and you’ll be entered for your chance to win this care package for yourself or to give as a gift.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 11/20/14. One winner will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 11/28/14. 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 12/28/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.

christmas care package







Dorm Design on a Budget

November 13th, 2014 by

Trying to decorate your dorm but can’t invest a lot of money in your space? Here are some easy ways to personalize your dorm without breaking the bank.



1. Pillow Art – Take some of your high school tees, your favorite sports jerseys that you’ve grown out of, concert souvenirs or some other nostalgic pieces and buy some stuffing for a pillow and you’ve got yourself a comfy cushion and a great decorating piece.

2. World Map – These come in canvas, poster and bulletin board form and you can even make your own with stencils and paint.

3. Hat Décor – Take all of your hats and hang them on hooks on your wall or over your door.

4. Movie or TV Poster – Your favorite movies say a lot about who you are and these posters can be great conversation starters for new roommates or friends.



5. Mason Jar Storage – You can find empty, clear mason jars at any craft store like Michael’s or Walmart and they’re super cheap. Combine that with some paint and a brush and you can fill in the inside to match any colors in your room.

6. Stencil Wall Hanging – Grab some scrapbook paper or magazine cutouts and print out free online templates of your favorite shapes or animals and trace away.

7. Jewelry Art – Thrift shops and craft stores have empty frames that you can paint or leave as is for a vintage feel. The display works as storage and art and all of your favorite items will be organized and easy to find.

8. Music Poster – New artists and designers often have to design their own posters for bands and movies that already exist. You can find these on Pinterest or Tumblr or a simple Google image search and they’re free or cheap to download.


Scholarships — Defensive Driving Scholarship

November 12th, 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: Defensive Driving Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Make a video responding to the following prompt (video can be filmed on a smartphone, digital camera/camcorder or webcam and submitted online): “What’s your biggest pet peeve about other drivers? Why is their behavior dangerous/unsafe?”

The video should be from 30-60 seconds in length and should be taken in the “landscape” (long) format rather than “portrait” (tall) format if taken on a smart phone.

• Open to high school seniors or college students who are legal residents of the United States
• Scholarship payable to the winner who should be living in the United States
• Student must enroll in semester beginning no later than Spring 2015
• Winner is not based on financial need
• Relatives of Defensive Driving staff may not enter
• Home-schooled students may apply so long as your course of study is equivalent to a high school senior
• Applicants required to submit a video AND “like”’s Facebook page to be considered

For more info and to apply for this scholarship, visit the Defensive Driving Scholarship site.

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







Best Colleges for Veterans

November 11th, 2014 by

Stars and stripesHappy Veteran’s Day! In honor of the occasion, we wanted to share the top ten colleges for Veterans according to U.S. News and World Report.

Thank you to all of our Veterans for your service to our country!

Top 10 Colleges for Veterans

1. Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

2. Pennsylvania State University—​University Park
University Park, Penn.

2-tie. University of Washington
Seattle, Wash.

4. University of Texas—Austin
Austin, Texas

5. Ohio State University—Columbus
Columbus, Ohio

5-tie. Tulane University
New Orleans, La.

7. Syracuse University
Syracuse, N.Y.

8. Purdue University—​West Lafayette 
West Lafayette, Ind.

9. Texas A&M University—College Station
College Station, Texas

10. University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa


Tuesday Tour Day – Dean College

November 11th, 2014 by

Dean Profile Image 2013Dean College located in Franklin, Massachusetts and is a co-ed private college that houses more than a thousand full-time students and 500 part time students. These students come to this unique college from all over the world for the small class sizes, state-of-the-art campus, outstanding academic programs and the legendary TLC that’s the cornerstone of The Dean Method.

The Dean Difference promotes itself as being a college that makes sure students are not just a number and that success is the primary goal of the entire community. Dean College provides students with quality teaching, personalized academic support, leadership opportunities and professional development promoting a lifetime of learning and achievement.

The location of the college is ideal because it’s a small, close knit community that isn’t isolated. In the local environment, students can enjoy a wide variety of restaurants, shopping and other forms of entertainment. A commuter rail is only a block from campus for those seeking a night out to see all Boston has to offer. Providence, Rhode Island is only 40 minutes from campus, the beaches of Cape Cod and the mountains of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire are within a close distance. The Student Life office plans regular trips for students to get off campus to enjoy activities throughout New York City and New England.

Dean offers 5 Bachelor degrees as well as 15 Associate in Arts and Associate in Science Degrees. Dean also offers a part-time study program to serve students who wish to pursue their education on a part-time basis.

Dean College believes that college is about more than just academics. It is about the personal growth and development that comes from being an active participant in a community of individuals. It is about the learning that comes when you interact with people from all different backgrounds. It is about engaging in activities you are passionate about while taking time to try something totally new and outside your comfort zone.

Student life at Dean College emphasizes all of this and more. With a diverse selection of student organizations, exciting athletic teams, unmatched performing arts and a great location, you can experience the life of a college student as it was meant to be.

The tuition for the college costs $29,140 and room and board amounts to $12,422 with an average amount of $1,500 offered to each student for work-study.

> Learn more or request information about Dean College.