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.


Military Monday — Military Review Course

November 10th, 2014 by

Have you been considering joining the military after high school but no one was able to tell you what it was all about? Next Step Academy is your source to finding out the basics about serving in the military — and if it’s the right path for you.


Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 3.15.47 PM

 1. Start with a basic overview

Need a refresher on all of the different military branches? Don’t know the difference between active and reserve members? Next Step Academy will walk you through the basics of joining the military, from where you can get involved, to benefits and preparing for your future.



Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 3.20.18 PM2. Watch videos with experts in the field

We go straight to the source by interviewing professionals with experience in the military. Learn what it takes to be a soldier, what you can do to stand out on your application and interview and what some of benefits of service are — both while your serving and in the civilian world.


3. Take a quiz to test your knowledgeScreen Shot 2014-11-07 at 3.20.43 PM

Like all courses on Next Step Academy, the U.S. Military course has a review at the end with a series of multiple choice questions. Test what you’ve learned in the course by answering the questions and get feedback on what you got right and what you need to review again.



Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 3.20.56 PM copy4. Earn a badge — and a chance at an iPad Mini!

Once you complete the course, you’ll earn a badge to show off your knowledge. And, to reward you for your efforts, Next Step Academy is giving you a chance to win an iPad Mini! Every course you complete and badge you earn gets you an entry into the monthly iPad drawing. The more classes you take, the more chances you have to win, so check out all of the courses Next Step Academy as to offer!




Freebie Friday — Great Useful Stuff

November 7th, 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.

Great Useful Stuff has a handy Silver Multi Charging Station you will want to use to put away your tech devices. This shimmery silver charging station has room for a laptop, tablet and up to 3 devices. A sturdy stand holds and hides unsightly cords and the magnetic base flips open to reveal a hidden storage compartment for wires that otherwise clutter up your desk space.

This charger is also available for purchase in white, black and bamboo for $35.

If you are making a wish list for the holidays, we feel this is a must-have for any student going to college. Those dorms are small enough without adding tech clutter to your desks or counter tops.

Today we have a Silver Multi Charging Station from Great Useful Stuff to give away to one lucky winner. Fill out the Rafflecopter app below and be entered for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Great Useful Stuff Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 11/13/14. One winner will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 11/21/14. 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 12/21/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.



5 college hacks to help you focus

November 6th, 2014 by

It’s that time of year again — while the rest of the world is preparing for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, you are stuck at your desk in the library preparing for finals and end-of-the-year projects. It can be difficult to stay focused with so many things going on, but there are ways to tune out some of the noise and make sure you do what needs to get done.



(click the image to zoom and share on Pinterest!)


Scholarships — Dove & ShopRite®

November 5th, 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: Dove and ShopRite® Right On Girls! scholarship

• 1st Place: $4,000 Scholarship
• 1st Place nominator prize: $400 gift card
• 2nd Place: $1,000 Scholarship
• 2nd Place nominator prize: $100 gift card
Plus, 20 lucky nominators will win $50 ShopRite® gift cards!

Description: Nominate a confident teen (yourself or someone you know) who inspires you.

Requirements: Girls age 13-19 living in NY, NJ, CT, PA, DE or MD are eligible. Nominator must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident (green card). Fashion company employees and their immediate family members are not eligible. Immediate family includes only spouses, parents and children.

Official rules can be viewed here.

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



Meet Annalise

November 4th, 2014 by

Hi readers! My name is Annalise Cosco and I am a new writer at NextStepU. I’ll be sharing my stories and advice with you, but first I thought you should get to know a little bit about me.

There is a quote that I love: “Live life to the fullest.”

Yes, it may be a cliché, but for more reasons than one it’s the motto I chose to live by. And, in my first piece of advice to you, it’s also the motto I encourage all of you to live by, for at least throughout your college years. College is the best years of your life — I’m sure you’ve all heard it a million times — but then again, if it’s something you’ve heard so often, it might just be because it’s true.

When I was going through the college planning process, I didn’t believe that anything could be better than living in my hometown, with the friends I’ve known since kindergarten, having my mom do my laundry and making homemade sauce every Sunday for dinner. Therefore, when the time came to make my college decision, I decided to pick a school LITERALLY 10 minutes down the road from my house.

After a year though, I felt like something was missing. Following my freshman year of college, I transferred to St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. and it was then that I discovered the true meaning of the phrasing “living life to the fullest.” I was a Communication/Journalism major who wasted no time getting involved, even though I was a transfer. Within my first week at Fisher I was a member of the school television station and by the end of my college career, I also wrote for the school newspaper and had three internships.

My years at Fisher are filled with memories and friendships to last a lifetime. My sophomore year when I transferred, I lived in a single dorm room, alone. By my senior year I lived in a house with five other girls, thanks to becoming best friends with my RA who lived down the hall. If I could offer advice to anyone — whether you are a transfer, a first-year student, or anything in between — don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. That person you talk to across the hall from you might just turn out to be your new best friend.

At the end of the day, remember this little phrase: live your college life to the fullest and it will be the best years of your life.

headshotAnnalise was born and raised in Fairport, N.Y. and attended St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. She has a love and passion for writing and is a complete “news junkie.” She’s the kind of girl who loves shopping, chick flicks and pumpkin flavored everything, but is also a complete sports fanatic!

Get more college planning advice at!


Tuesday Tour Day — College of St. Scholastica

November 3rd, 2014 by

css_profile_13-14The College of Saint Scholastica, a private and religious college, is located in Duluth, Minnesota. Aside from having top-ranked academic programs, St. Scholastica is known for their thriving community. The students at St. Scholastica are a community of learners who work, play and grow together. St. Scholastica is a comprehensive higher education system offering over 30 choices of majors for students.

Academically, St. Scholastica students can excel with independent one-on-one study with professors. The college has a 13:1 student-to-teacher ratio for easy academic assistance. During your years at St. Scholastica, you can also participate in and lead research studies, study abroad and gain real world, hands-on experience through internships.

St. Scholastica is a friendly community that is always encouraging students to get involved. There are over 60 clubs and organizations to join and no matter where you go you can always find a friend or group of students who share your interests. Off-campus, the Duluth area is known for their outdoor adventures and cultural/entertainment activities. The area was recently ranked by the nonprofit American Institute for Economic Research as one of America’s best small metropolitan areas for college students.

The college is able to meet about 98% of student’s financial needs. Last year the St. Scholastica awarded almost $19 million in scholarships. The college’s Benedictine Scholarship allows them to award annual merit-based scholarships ranging from $10,000 per year to $16,500 per year. Tuition for St. Scholastica  is $29,328 a year with room and board listed as $7,716.

Want to learn more about the College of St. Scholastica? Visit their profile on