Scholarships — Chameleon John

April 9th, 2015 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: Chameleon John

Amount: $10,000

Description: You have 1,000 characters or less to answer all three of these questions:
• What are your goals in life? How will these studies contribute to them?
• How will this scholarship change your life?
• What quote by a famous person represents your attitude towards life and success? Why?

Requirements:  Your desired university must be in the United States and you must fill out the application form. Chameleon John will choose one applicant for the scholarship. The money will be sent directly to the university to be applied to the winner’s tuition fees.

Deadline: June 1, 2015

For more information:  Visit the Chameleon John scholarship website.

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




Just stick with it

April 8th, 2015 by

iStock_000009589705SmallI remember starting the second semester of my freshman year with the worst attitude. Being home for a month for mid-semester break was probably the worst thing that I could have done in that point in my life. It reminded me how happy I was with my family, friends and boyfriend. A few weeks in, I was seriously considering transferring. I didn’t want to switch schools to be closer to home, I just wanted to go somewhere that would make me happier than what I was at St. John Fisher.

Well come to find out, it really only took one text message to change my mind.

Rewind to the first day I ever sat in a college classroom. In my fourth class of the day (yeah, thanks freshman scheduling), I put my bag down in the back row of my sociology class. But something told me to move up next to this one girl. So I grabbed my bag, awkwardly sat down next to her and said, “I’m just going to move up here.” She laughed and we waited for class to start.

For some reason, professors at Fisher are obsessed with introduction activities. It’s probably so they can learn your name faster when they have some facts to associate you with, but I just think it’s uncomfortable. Anyway, I paired up with the girl who had to endure my awkwardness and had to share some facts about her with the rest of the class. Her name was Heather, she was a freshman, her major was nursing and she was from Vermont.

As the semester went on, I found myself looking forward to sociology because I would get to talk to her. She called me Emily from Syracuse and I called her Heather from Vermont. We studied for every test together and as the semester wound down, she said to me, “Promise me we’ll still be friends when this class is over.”

Well now fast forward to a few weeks into the second semester. I didn’t really have too many friends and sort of got ditched often when it came to meals. I ate numerous meals alone and I was over being unhappy. So remembering what Heather said to me, I texted her and asked if I could go to dinner with her and her friends.

When I sat down, there were a ton of people. Names were shot out and as I’m reminiscing on this now, I find it hard to believe there was a time when I didn’t know these people. Night after night, I would go to dinner with them. One Friday, we all went to Wegmans and a movie. After being with Heather the rest of the semester, it’s hard to remember that I wanted to transfer.

Now, a little over two years later, it’s strange when we don’t go to Wegmans on Friday night. We live together now, but it’s not even like Heather is my roommate. I don’t have a roommate. I have a best friend who I live with. On the weekends when we sleep in, we crawl in bed together when we wake up. We watch an obnoxious amount of Netflix and eat so much junk food. We talk about life and have dance parties in the dark.

If I had decided to transfer freshman year, I would have never gotten this close to Heather. I was so unhappy, but as her role in my life increased, so did my happiness. It’s hard to put into words how much she changed my life because she still does every day. She’s my support at school. Sure I have my family, friends from home and my boyfriend to vent to, but when I need to vent about what’s stressing me out, she’s there.

I’m here to tell you that if you just hang on for a few more days or weeks, it could get better. Reach out to someone you had a class with or maybe someone you’re in a club with. Just a simple text message could change your life like one did to mine.

Emily-intern-2105Written by Emily Mein. Emily attends St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. Sharing information or a person’s story with people is why she loves writing. She can never get enough of Twitter, pasta and Syracuse basketball.


Tuesday Tour Day — Mercyhurst University

April 7th, 2015 by

mhuMercyhurst University is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The four-year Catholic, liberal arts school was founded in 1926. Since then, the school has seen growth, enrolling around 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students a year. Recently acquiring university status in 2012, this school offers students many opportunities.

Academic Life
Mercyhurst University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors with 67 concentrations. There are the traditional majors like accounting and psychology. But the school also offers majors such as fashion merchandising, dance, weaving arts, paleontology and petroleum technology. The average class size is 20 and Mercyhurst takes pride in the fact that all classes are taught only by faculty. In order to ensure students are well prepared for their lives after college, they are provided with hands-on experience that will allow them to apply what they learn to demonstrate that they know how to work in their desired field.

Campus Life
Mercyhurst believes that the college experience is a combination of what happens in the classroom and out of the classroom. Because of this, the school offers a variety of co-curricular opportunities for students to be a part of. In addition to clubs and organizations, Mercyhurst offers 24 varsity sports. While men’s and women’s hockey compete at the Division I level, the other 22 sports participate at the Division II level. If students are looking for things to do off-campus, Erie offers many experiences.

Financial Aid
In an effort to make education affordable, 95 percent of incoming freshmen receive some sort of financial aid. Tuition at Mercyhurst is $25,860, while room and board is $11,139.

> To learn more about Mercyhurst University, visit


Major Monday — Parks and Recreation

April 6th, 2015 by

Agronomist looking at wheat quality with farmerEveryone has a busy life and it’s important to take a break and do some recreation. If you enjoy working with various types of people of all backgrounds and ages with diverse needs and have an interest in working outdoors, a major in parks and recreation may be for you. You’ll learn to develop and manage places where people participate in recreational activities. (And don’t worry, it’s not as crazy as the show!)

A parks and recreation major will lead to a bachelor’s degree. You’ll learn how to lead people in a wilderness setting, work on recreation programs, mockup annual budgets, analyze legal issues and learn to manage a staff. A parks and recreation major will likely take courses in park management, legal issues, leadership training, camp management, financial management, managing nonprofit agencies and marketing. The most important thing you’ll do in this major is take an internship because it will allow you to get hands-on experience in the field; you could even spend a whole semester working in a state park. In high school, it helps to takes classes like algebra, speech, sociology, English, computer applications and a foreign language.

Questions to ask
Make sure the program is accredited by the National Recreation and Park Association Council. Parks and recreation is broad — does the program offer specializations? Inquire about the recreation facilities that are available on campus. Will there be internship opportunities? What about after graduation — will the program help you find work?

In 2012, a recreation worker made an average of $22,240 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

> For more careers and majors info, visit


Scholarships — Goedeker’s Book Scholarship

April 2nd, 2015 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: Goedeker’s Appliances Annual College Book Scholarship

Amount: The grand prize is a $500 scholarship. Two $100 scholarships will also be awarded to honorable mention entries.

Description: Write an essay about why attending college and your field of study are important to you. Give insight into your personal background, your philosophy about learning, why you chose your field in particular, and any other information you feel is relevant. These will be judged based on originality, creativity, organization of thought, and proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

• Essay length should be 300 words minimum.
• Proof that you have a 3.0 GPA or higher. For homeschoolers: provide a parent-generated transcript.
• Clear contact information (name, mailing address, preferred means of contact).
• A few sentences about yourself and a recent photo of yourself which will be used for publicity purposes on the Goedeker’s Home Life blog.
• Proof that you are enrolled in an accredited college for the spring 2015 semester OR proof that you have been accepted at an accredited college for the fall 2015 semester.

Deadline: Submission deadline is July 31, 2015, at 12 a.m. (CDT). The honorable mentions will be awarded on August 10 and August 11, 2015. The grand prize will be awarded on August 12, 2015.

For more information:  Visit the Goedeker’s Appliances Annual College Book Scholarship website for more info and submission information.

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




Opinion: Is a new app to monitor attendance in class ethical?

April 1st, 2015 by

iStock_000002935612_SmallWith the rising cost of higher education, new research is being done in order to come up with ways to ensure that students are getting the most bang for their buck — including making sure they’re attending class. Most recently, researchers from Missouri University of Science and Technology have come up with an app that uses facial recognition as a way to monitor attendance.

In order for the app to work, the instructor scans the room with his or her phone to capture everyone’s image at the beginning of each semester. Then when each class starts, they do the same thing. The app then logs the data of attendance automatically.

Zhaozheng Yin, the professor leading the research, feels it will make attendance-tracking easier. “My class is about 40 students. It will take a few minutes and the students find it boring. It’s maybe 10 percent of the total time,” he said.

As a college student, I understand why attendance is important. In order to do well and get the most out of the education you are paying for, you must be in class. I am a student who rarely skips class — I just can’t do it. This semester, I had to miss two days of my sociology class and, with a test looming, I have never felt so unprepared even though I read the chapters and reviewed the PowerPoints. There is something about being in the classroom that allows you to learn even more and this app could be used to punish you for not being in class (if poor grades aren’t enough for you).

I also see why this type of technology would be effective for professors. Like Yin said, it will save time, which ultimately gives students more value for what they paid for. In a time where education costs are consistently questioned, this is what it boils down to.

But with all of this in mind, I strongly think that this type of technology does not belong in a college classroom.

First, a facial recognition app tracking our attendance is not needed. As college students, WE are responsible for getting up every day and going to class — not our professors. We should face the reality that we are adults now and have to be accountable. Maybe an app like this might be able to teach us accountability because it would show us there are consequences for not attending class, ultimately making us accountable. But if you are in college, you should already know this and want to practice it — not be forced into complying.

Additionally, Yin is now looking at ways for parents to receive the data to check if their child is attending class. College is the first time many of us are living on our own; if our parents can watch our every move and keep tabs on us when it comes to being in class, how are we ever going to learn to function on our own as adults?

Besides my personal opinion on college students and their responsibility to be in class, I think this technology presents many potential problems. First, how reliable is the facial recognition software? I wear contacts, but some days I wear glasses — would the software be able to account for this or would I be marked absent? In classrooms, not everyone can see the whiteboard at all times meaning they’re not always visible. This could be a problem when checking to see who’s there. Like with everything technology, there is always a risk of something going wrong — how reliable will this app be?

If professors and schools are going to institute this app, I can see the benefits because it simplifies the process of attendance and has the potential to save time. However, when it comes to the maturity of their students, institutions shouldn’t rely on technology to teach a lesson about life — that sort of thing comes from human interaction alone.

Emily-intern-2105Written by Emily Mein. Emily attends St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. Sharing information or a person’s story with people is why she loves writing. She can never get enough of Twitter, pasta and Syracuse basketball.


Tuesday Tour Day — Sam Houston State University

March 31st, 2015 by

sam-houstonIn Huntsville, Texas, Sam Houston State University is located between Houston and Dallas. Founded to honor General Sam Houston, SHSU is surrounded by forests, lakes and ranch lands. Even though the school is in the top 7 percent of all U.S. colleges and universities according to the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, SHSU offers an affordable education.

Academic Life
With over 80 majors, students have many options as to what they want to study. Majors include computer animation, management, biology and victim studies. If you attend SHSU, you’ll be taught by a well-educated faculty. In fact, 77 percent of faculty members have the highest degree in their field. Plus, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1, you’ll be able to benefit from the faculty’s experience. When it comes to finding employment, SHSU is driven to help its students find jobs through every possible means. That’s likely why they were ranked second in the state for the highest percentage of baccalaureate graduates to find employment within one year of graduation.

Campus Life
With a 316-acre campus, SHSU is a student’s home away from home. There are 235 registered student organizations to join to help explore your passions and get excellent leadership experience. As for athletics, SHSU only offers club sports, but these 20+ teams compete both regionally and nationally. If competition isn’t your thing, you can partake in various on-campus sports — there are both intramural and outdoor programs. The school’s newest facility is the Recreational Sports Center that has basketball and volleyball courts, an indoor track, a climbing center and a swimming pool with lap lanes.

Financial Aid
For in-state students, tuition is $7,961, while out-of-state students would pay $14,520. Room and board at SHSU is $7,644.

> Learn more about Sam Houston State University and request information from!


Major Monday — Tourism and Travel

March 30th, 2015 by

Female Executive With Files Attending Phone CallAre you outgoing? Do you like learning about various cultures and people? If you like helping others and making plans, a travel and tourism management major might be for you. Whether it’s a trip for business or pleasure, you’ll make it as easy as possible for your customer.

A travel and tourism management program most likely leads to an associate degree. In order to get firsthand experience, it’s recommended that students in this program do some traveling, especially studying abroad. You’ll take courses in travel agency management, business presentations, hospitality law, marketing management, destinations and cultures, computer-based information systems, sales and reservations and ticketing. There’s a chance that your most important learning will take place in a real-life situation like an internship in a travel agency. In high school, it helps to take classes like accounting, psychology, geography, computer applications and business.

Questions to ask
In this type of industry, it’s important to get an up-to-date education — are the professors actively involved in the travel and tourism industry? The classroom education can only go so far — what hands-on learning opportunities does the program provide? Ask if the program will help you find work after graduation and inquire about what recent grads are doing now.

A major in travel and tourism management can allow you to start off as a travel agent, making an average of $34,600 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But you can use your degree to work your way up to management, where you’ll see an increase in pay. Another option with this degree is a meeting, convention and event planner, which made an average of $45,810 in 2012.

> For more information about careers, majors and more, visit!


Dressing Appropriately on Campus

March 25th, 2015 by

iStock_000016826623SmallThe unthinkable has finally started to happen — the cold is making its way out and in it’s place are warmer temperatures and a strong case of spring fever. Now is the time of year where students and faculty make it out of their winter lairs and into the fresh air. With so much exposure, though, it’s hard to remember what was appropriate to wear on campus when you weren’t bundled up in 15 different layers. Try this guide to jump-start your spring wardrobe without causing too many double-takes:

In the dining hall
Meals give you a break from the never-ending classes, assignments, meetings or jobs. It’s a chance to sit back, relax, eat some food and catch up with friends. During the week, you’re probably running to the dining hall in between classes or meetings. You already got ready that morning, so no prep is necessary. You’ll probably always see a lot of students wearing your college’s gear and it’s not uncommon to see numerous people wearing the same thing. The dining hall is the go-between for many students so wear what’s comfortable to you — whether you’re coming from that prestigious internship, or from bed.

Going to the gym
Pop quiz: Is it acceptable to go places on campus after putting in time at the gym? Answer: Yes — within reason. With a quick trip to the dining hall or a stop at the library to print an essay, you don’t have to worry about people judging you; they’ll understand you’re trying to better yourself and you might just serve as inspiration for someone who’s been making excuses. We’ve all done it before, so go ahead and rock your sweaty gym clothes. BUT there are important exceptions: Anything that involves meeting with someone that is a superior (I.e. an advisor, someone in career services, financial aid, etc.), you know better than to try to wear a sweaty pair of shorts. Go back to your dorm to shower before attempting any sort of impression.

Study group
Being respectful of your peers is a no-brainer but for those who show up on a day you don’t have class, please don’t tempt all of us with your slippers. I understand it’s your day off and you’ve probably just watched Netflix all day, but can’t you see we all want to be in your shoes…well, slippers? It’s just a tease. And, your laid-back attitude isn’t really great for the work we’re trying to get done — minimal effort would be ideal!

The moral?
While there are certain dress standards on campus, the best advice I can give you is to use your judgement and just be yourself!

Emily-intern-2105Written by Emily Mein. Emily attends St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. Sharing information or a person’s story with people is why she loves writing. She can never get enough of Twitter, pasta and Syracuse basketball.


Tuesday Tour Day — Trinity Washington University

March 24th, 2015 by

twuTrinity Washington University is located in the nation’s capital, just minutes from the U.S. Capitol and downtown Washington, DC. Founded in 1897, it is one of the first Catholic colleges for women in the US. Since then, Trinity has remained faithful to its primary vision with a mission to ensure access to a high quality education for women who might otherwise be excluded. The majority of students enrolled are women, but there are men attending Trinity.

At Trinity, there are 20 baccalaureate majors including business administration, registered nursing and education. Since Trinity focuses on women, men are only able to attend the university in programs in the School of Professional Services and at the graduate level. All classes are taught by faculty and every tenured faculty member has the highest degree possible in their field. The average class size at Trinity is 15.

Campus Life
There are on-campus activities that take place every day, involving all members of the school, including athletic events, public lectures, clubs and organization and Trinity Traditions. Trinity urges its students to have an active life outside of the classroom. Most students explore the cultural, historical and community events that the DC-area offers. Since health and fitness are important parts of an education, Trinity is a member of Division III athletics. There are varsity level sports as well as intramurals.

Financial Aid
Over $1 million in aid is awarded by Trinity each year in addition to state and federal funding. The school offers need-based and merit-based aid in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $12,000. Tuition is $20,150 and room and board is $9,210.

Learn more about Trinity Washington and request information directly from!