The happiest freshmen

August 28th, 2014 by

iStock_000011502005SmallIndependent college rankings and review website College Choice published a ranking of the 50 U.S. colleges and universities with the happiest first-year students.  Based primarily on the percentage of freshmen who return for their sophomore year, here are your top three rated universities:

1. Yale University
2. University of Chicago
3. Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California

“Students who complete their first year and return for their second at the same institution are much more likely to eventually finish their degree than those who transfer or dropout,” said College Choice Associate Editor Katie Brownell Amondson. “The schools on this list all do an exceptional job ensuring first freshmen students feel happy and supported enough to return for their sophomore year,” she said.

The ranking considered all regionally accredited colleges and universities recognized by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Retention rates were drawn from the most recent data available from the NCES IPEDS database and Schools sharing the same retention rate were ranked based on their overall graduation rates. 

> The full ranking can be viewed at



SAT Math Formula eBook

August 27th, 2014 by

magooshSAT mathWhat’s worse than the worst thing ever? For some, it’s SAT math. And I can see why: you’re cooped up in a room for hours, sitting until your muscles start to cramp, forcing your brain to recall that one formula your 8th grade geometry teacher told you would save your live one day.

If you’re one of the many who get the heebie-jeebies whenever the topic of SAT math pops up, we’ve got a life-saving tip for you: the SAT tests the exact same math concepts on every single exam! That means if you take time out to diligently study the right math concepts ahead of time, you’ll be ready to ace the SAT math section anytime, any day.

That’s where our friends at Magoosh SAT come in. They’ve put together a new eBook, complete with all the math formulas, study strategies, time-saving tips, and practice problems you’ll need for the SAT. It’s free and interactive to use, and it’ll give you the resources you need to dominate SAT math and do it fast. So check out the SAT math formula eBook and give your brain a break from straining for 8th grade math formulas!

 > Download the free SAT Math Formula eBook here!


Trendy Tuesday — Top Colors for Fall

August 26th, 2014 by

Going back to school may not be the most exciting thing to think about — unless it comes to back-to-school shopping! Get up to speed on the most trending fall colors and find out how you can deck out your school supplies and wardrobe in these spotlight-stealing shades.


1. Radiant orchid
The Pantone color of the year is still in full swing! According to Nikole Powers, a Miami-based fashion stylist, “People are becoming more open to the idea of spring tones for fall and this is a perfect example.” Rock this color with Studio C’s Hot to Trot Slim Folio for iPad Mini. Even cuter — the outside is polka dots!

royal blue

2. Royal blue
“This color is navy with a punch,” explains Powers. Add a pop of this color in your wardrobe and stay cozy with this sweater from Indigenous. Plus you’ll feel good about your purchase — all women’s sweaters are handmade by cooperatives who specialize in eco-fashion and work under fair trade, safe conditions to produce well constructed apparel, with flattering details.


3. Misted yellow
Powers insists that this color can “brighten up those gray days.” When hitting up the gym after school or for practice, keep all of your supplies in this trendy yellow FlipBelt. Featuring a tubular pocket, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your phone or keys on the field again!


4. Cognac
“Earth tones are a great way to get in the fall spirit,” according to Powers. For back-to-school, rock this color in a protective tablet messenger like this one from Jill-E. Keep your electronics safe and keep up with the trends all at once!


5. Cypress
Green is a great fall color — as long as you keep it in warm and rich tones. A great example is this leather studded bangle bracelet in natural green from GawdyBobbles. It’s neutral so you can wear it with anything!


Major Monday — Sports and Fitness Administration

August 25th, 2014 by

fitnessBeing fit is an essential part of people’s lives but finding the time to do so can be a challenge. If you have a passion for a healthy lifestyle and you want to lead the way in helping others in their fitness goals, you might want to consider a major in sports and fitness administration.

According to the College Board, this major typically leads to a bachelor’s degree. This major can lead to future careers that involve running athletic programs, sports teams, health clubs and gyms. As a student in this major, you will likely take courses including fitness program management, history of sports, kinesiology and sports law. You should also be prepared to take a class on sports marketing to learn the basics of management, budgeting and the use of promotional materials.

What to know before you apply
Students should be interested in various aspects of the sports profession including law, health, business and science. When researching colleges, students should look for schools that offer personalized attention, the ability to do internships or practice running an event at a local venue, and have a strong alumni network to use for future connections.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income for coaches and scouts was $28,360 as of 2012. Average annual income for agents and business managers of athletes was $96,410 as of 2012.

> Want to find out more about fitness? Take the fitness life skills course on to help better your fitness lifestyle — and to learn what it takes to help others in their fitness goals.


Freebie Friday — Logitech

August 22nd, 2014 by



We want you to go back to school in style! Your parents got you that iPad you’ve always wanted, but now you need a great case to put it in. Logitech has an amazing Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for your iPad Mini or iPad Air.

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air ($99.99) or the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad mini ($89.99) is a must-have. The spacious keyboard and Bluetooth connection allow you to be productive from anywhere. The case doubles as a stand so it’s perfect for typing papers or emails, reading, researching or studying.

The case is lightweight and protects the front and back of the iPad to help shield the iPad from bumps, scratches and spills (which we all know are sure to happen!).

Additionally, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio comes in a number of fun colors for those of you that love options. This case is currently available on for the iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display.

We are giving away one Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for the iPad mini or the iPad Air to one lucky reader. Fill out the Rafflecopter app below to be entered for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Logitech Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 8/28/14. One winner will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 9/5/14. 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 10/5/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.


Top 10 colleges with the best food in America

August 21st, 2014 by

Picking your perfect college can come down to a number of factors. Program, location, size, atmosphere — these are all very important things to consider when deciding where you want to go to school.

But what if you find several schools that have all the things you’re looking for and you have a hard time trying to decide your final choice? Consider picking a school with excellent food options. You’re going to need to stay nourished throughout your years at college; why not pick somewhere that satisfies those taste buds of yours?

Here are the top 10 schools with the best food in America, as ranked by The Daily Meal:

1. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
2. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
3. Columbia University, New York, N.Y.
4. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia
5. Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
6. University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.
7. New York University, New York, N.Y.
8. Occidental College, Los Angeles, Calif.
9. Duke University, Durham, N.C.
10. Boston University, Boston, Mass.

Check out all 75 top contenders at The Daily Meal and search for your perfect college at


5 stages of going to college for the first time

August 20th, 2014 by

It’s official! You, recent graduate you, are taking the next step in your life by starting your freshman year of college. Congratulations!

As with any major change in life, you’re probably going to go through several stages of *feels* when you head off to college for the first time. When it came to my experience, I distinctly remember 5 stages I went through during my freshman year and, let me tell you, were they a roller coaster of emotions.

So, like all things to describe how I feel, I’m going to go through said stages…as explained by Harry Potter. Don’t fight, just feel!

1. Fear


College — now THAT was a scary word. I feared all sorts of things: my future roommate, my classes, the idea of being away from home. It was all too new and scary and pleaseeee don’t make me do it!

2. Excitement


Not too long after the fear stage, I got the letter that contained my housing arrangements and my new roommate, along with this *fancy* new social media site that was exclusive for the class of ’13. I got to talk to my future classmates, meet my roommate and check out my new digs and now…hey, this sounds pretty awesome. Can’t I leave now?!

3. Nostalgia


The day I left for college — and this is something my mother will never let me forget as she tells everyone she gets the chance to — I was so distraught and filled with a sense of nostalgia that I walked through every room in my house and as I walked through the door I bursted into tears. (This is extremely embarrassing to admit, but there it is). You probably won’t be as dramatic as me but let me tell you, leaving your house for that last time before it all changes? It can bring out your nostalgic side.

4. Isolation

2 kewl hangin w/my friends 2 call mom (sorry mom!!)

2 kewl hangin w/my friends 2 call mom (sorry mom!!)

Like I said before, this whole process is a roller coaster, which leads me to my next phase. I don’t mean isolation in the way you might think. I was never isolated by myself, but I was isolated from everything I was just weeping about two weeks before. I shut myself off and became fully ingrained in college life with new friends, new classes and new experiences. I’m not saying this was a great choice, but it’s a stage, don’t judge me!

5. Balance


Finally we reach the last stage. After the ups and downs of emotions, I finally settled into a balance of college life and remembering that I, in fact, still have a life outside that bubble. (Also it came to the point where my dad had to tell me to call my mother. Dark times. Don’t forget about your mom, people!) It takes time, but you’ll be able to juggle it all — you can grow up without losing where you came from.


LauraS_150Written by Laura Sestito. Laura is the Editorial and Production Coordinator at NextStepU and graduated from Nazareth College. 

For more college, career and life planning advice, visit to start your path to success!


Trendy Tuesday — Dorm essentials

August 19th, 2014 by

When deciding what to pack for your dorm, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out what is essential and what is “oh that would be nice to have!” You’ve heard it a dozen times but the fact remains — your space will be very limited in your college dorm room.

But have no fear! We’re sharing Noodle’s resident expert Kerri Liesenbigler’s top five dorm room products that you need to have when you head off to college. Don’t consider these part of your recommended list — have these on hand your first day at your new place!


1. Twin XL Bedding
There’s a big difference between regular twin-sized bedding and twin-XL bedding. Make sure you know what kind of mattress your dorm has — and a majority will be twin-XL — before you purchase your new bedding.
Our pick: Sail Away Cotton Twin XL Comforter Set

2. Mattress Topper
Unfortunately, college dorm mattress are not the most comfortable. This can be a problem when you need your beauty rest to perform well on your studies! Getting a mattress pad or bedding topper adds a layer of comfort to your less-than-luxurious sleeping arrangements and will have you sleeping like a baby even on your most stressful nights.
Our pick: 2-inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper in Twin XL

3. Shower Caddy
Carting all of your shower goods from your room to the bathroom is a hassle without a shower caddy. When shopping for a caddy, try to find one that’s plastic rather than fabric — if you’re going to be bringing it right into the shower with you, a plastic one is much easier to dry than fabric. You don’t want any mold growing where it shouldn’t be!
Our pick: Dorm Shower Tote

4. Laundry Bag
Here’s another item you need to get your stuff where it needs to go. A laundry bag let’s you carry a lot of items all at once — and, let’s be honest, you’ll probably need that with how often you’ll really be doing laundry. Find a cute one like our pick to show off your personal style.
Our pick: Darling Owl College Laundry Bag

5. Safety Lock Box
You’re going to be bringing a lot of important items with you to college and sometimes you need a safe space to keep them all. Invest in a compact lock box to keep items like your passport, checkbook or other things that you don’t want to be kept out in the open.
Our pick: Mini Vault in Yellow


Major Monday — Criminal Justice

August 18th, 2014 by

cjAre you a dedicated citizen who wants to help uphold the law and keep the peace? Are you passionate about making your community a better place? If so, you might want to consider pursing a criminal justice major!

A degree in criminal justice can be earned at the associate’s and bachelor’s level. The main difference between the two degrees — other than time — is that you will get a broader knowledge of the American justice system with a bachelor’s degree than you would at the associate level. Typical courses you would take include criminology, the U.S. criminal justice system and criminal law.

What to know before you apply
Inquire as to whether your program will teach you general knowledge about criminal justice or if the classes you are taking will prepare you for a specific career. Also, be prepared to complete an internship in places like your local police department, the FBI or in a human rights organization. Students who pursue this major should be interested in all aspects of the law — from law making to enforcement to the psychology behind criminal activity.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers and detectives earned an average of $56,980 per year in 2012. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned an average of $48,190 per year in 2012.

> For more information on what it takes to have a career in criminal justice, take the pre-education course on to find out if it’s the right field for you before you get to college!


Freebie Friday — Purple Briefcase

August 15th, 2014 by



In our continued pursuit of hooking you up with companies that offer amazing products for high school and college students, allow us to introduce you to Purple Briefcase.


We think Purple Briefcase is amazing because of the hundreds of videos, specialized tools and job board that it has to offer members. Their resumé tool allows you to build multiple versions of your resumé, as well as an unlimited number of job searches.

A site like Purple Briefcase is exactly what you need to stand out from the crowd and gain the skills you need to compete in today’s world.

And we want you to WIN access to this amazing site! 

One lucky winner with get a DELL Venue 7 16GB Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Tablet so that he or she can access a free one-year subscription to the Purple Briefcase site.

Ten more lucky winners will get these fun sunglasses (because their future is so bright they have to wear shades!) and will have a free one-month access to Purple Briefcase.

To enter for a chance to win, just fill out the Rafflecopter app below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Purple Briefcase Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 8/21/14. Eleven winners will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 8/29/14. 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 9/29/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.