Top 10 Tips to Help you Choose a College Major

August 29, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

How to choose a college major
Remember when you were a little kid and tried to imagine what you would be when you grew up?

Well, that time has arrived. And the first step in your journey is to choose a college major. But how do you begin? There are so many choices in your college catalog!

While you could just throw darts, there are better ways to pick the right major — here are our top 10 tips to help you narrow the field.

10. Think about high school classes

What classes did you enjoy the most? What subjects got you excited, kept you interested? This isn’t about what was easy … it’s about what you loved learning.

9. The books you couldn’t put down

What kinds of books keep you reading well into the night? Are they a certain genre? Or are they typically set in a certain location or time period? Think about what they have in common … this could be a clue to your ideal major.

8. The kinds of movies you love

Like the books you enjoy most, the genre and subject matter of the movies you watch again and again can hold a clue to choosing a college major that will lead to the right career.

For instance, if you’re drawn to mysteries, consider a major that involves assembling clues, like archeology or medicine. Love sci fi thrillers? Maybe a major in engineering or another technological field would be a good choice.

7. Look at aptitude test results

Many schools offer aptitude tests to their students. If you’ve taken any of these, or if you took the military’s ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Test), the results can offer good information about what majors would be a good match to your abilities.

6. Consider your values

Think about your values when you’re trying to choose a college major. Do you have your heart set on making the world a better place? Majors in the life sciences, psychology or ecology might be good choices.

If you think the arts are the most valuable part of life, perhaps a major in music, museum management or theatre would be the right option when you choose course of study.

5. Look at predicted job growth

Sure, some people never use their major in their future jobs. But having an idea about what kinds of jobs you can expect to find on graduation day is a valid way to choose a college major. If your first choice is in a field that’s unlikely to be around much longer, look for related majors with more growth opportunity.

4. What’s so hard about that?

Is there something you think is a breeze, but others find difficult? That natural talent is a clue that could lead to picking a college major that will be just right for you.

3. How long can you stay in school?

While it would be wonderful to have all the time in the world to study and learn, today’s economic reality means that many students need to select a major that will lead to a job in a couple of years. If the major you’ve selected requires a masters for employment, make sure you have the time and money to stay the course.

2. Think about your career goals

If your plans call for grad school, you may need to choose a college major that makes it easier to get into the graduate or professional program you want.

1. What else do you want in life?

There’s more to life than a career. Before you choose a major, think about the other pieces of your life. Do you want a family? Do you have plans for volunteer activities or do you love the idea of travel?

Make sure you include all of your life plans in the equation when you choose you college major.

Relax – there are do overs!

And if you get it wrong? No problem. Changing your major is as simple as putting something new in the “Choose college major” box on your next registration form.

Top 10 College Search Sites

August 29, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

It’s hard to believe that high school is almost behind you, but it’s true. And that means it’s time to choose a college. But there are thousands of colleges and universities out there, and hundreds of college search sites. And your mailbox is bursting with new college catalogs every day. So where do you start?

Lucky for you, we have done the groundwork for you. So here are the top 10 college search sites to help you make that big decision.

10. Google!

If you’re looking for an online college or university, Google is a great place to start. Search by location, degree level, major or subject, or check on accreditation, all from the most obvious page.


While the site looks a bit cluttered, students looking for information about graduate school or specialty schools like art or nursing will find useful information here that’s missing on some other sites. Searchers who get too many results the first time can narrow searches with filters … a great way to quickly narrow the field.


This site starts out with a very basic search, providing only college name, location and size, but a couple of clicks take searchers into the kind of detailed information they need. The best feature is a cost breakdown for each school, showing tuition, living expenses and other costs, making the true financial picture easier to see.


Unlike some college search sites, this one offers a mix of traditional and online college options for each search. If you’re uncertain whether you want to take your classes on campus or online, this is a great place to start the search.


A bit more limited in the depth of the search, this site redeems itself with its wonderful chart allowing students to compare costs for schools in a state and/or major on one page. And as the name of the site suggests, they offer lots of useful information and links to help students and parents pay for college.


This college search site offers all the standard searches by location or major. But they also offer online applications for over 1,500 schools, with the option to enter information just once and have it populate multiple college applications.


If you’re trying to find a college that offers a very specific major, this is the winner among college search sites for you. Unlike other sites that stop with general major groups, this site lets you drill down to find the exact major you’re hoping to find.


Signing up for a free membership in this site will let students choose colleges that match their preferences for everything from athletics to religion. Nonmembers can search by location and a few other criterion.

2. The College Board

Best known for bringing students the wonderful experience called the SAT, this college search site also helps prospective college students find a school that is the right size, style and cost for their needs.


This easy to use site provides would-be students with tons of important information about colleges including costs, culture, admission standards, campus diversity and demographics. There’s even a map to show prospective students exactly where the school is located.

Top 10 Greek Rush Ideas

August 29, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Greek Rush is one of the best parts of college. Whether you’re a newbie Freshman, going from house to house, or are planning this season’s rush for your own sorority or fraternity, rush is blast.

Well, except for the trying to come up with fresh ideas each year for rush themes and parties. But we have you covered. Here are 10 great Greek rush ideas sure to make planning easier and keep bids coming in.

10. Animal rescue animal house

Who says you can’t do something good at a rush party? This theme combines the classic toga-clad style of Belushi’s classic film with a chance to save some pups in need of homes. Pick a rescue group, and have them bring some adoptable dogs, then make it a fundraiser for the rescues.

Host this Greek rush party outdoors, so there’s plenty of exposure for the pups, and plenty of space for a party in the true Roman style.

9. Live on Broadway

Make this rush party a theatrical event, complete with a costume area, a make-up artist, auditions, and of course, the Playbill program. Enlist some good photographers from your sorority or fraternity to take digital snaps of the cast then upload them throughout the evening to a big screen for instant entertainment.

8. Roaring 20’s

The days of bathtub gin, rolled stockings, speakeasies, and iconic mobsters makes a great theme for a Greek rush party. Have early “talkies” playing on the big screen, serve a non-alcoholic version of “hooch” in bottles with your frat or sorority name on the labels.

7. Fantasy football

Some big posters with diagrams of plays on them, a big screen showing your school’s team in one of their best games (hey, not every school has a winning team!), and of course a fantasy football game program running on a couple of computers around the party (big monitors make it even better) and you’re there. Serve game snacks, tap a keg if that’s allowed at your school), and party on!

6. John Hughes Reduex

With movies like National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink to choose from, there are endless Greek Rush ideas just waiting to be created. Pick one, or center your whole rush week around his films. Been awhile since you’ve seen them? Grab a couple these classic films and make a night of it, with notebook in hand for planning.

5. Asian adventure

Take your rush to the exotic Far East, with an Asian adventure theme. Pick one country, or set up rooms or areas for several, complete with food and themed favors. If you do several countries, make up passports, with your house as the issuing country, to be stamped at each table.

4. Take to the skies

Pilots, stewardesses (think the new PanAm show), and food on little trays. Add a mock of the “safety speech” we all know so well (does anyone actually listen to that anymore?), and you have a Greek rush idea sure to take off.

3. Frosty winter party

This theme is best for a rush during a hot month. Decorate the inside of the house with light blue lights, use spray-on snow on windows and mirrors, rent or create an ice fountain, and ask everyone to dress in winter clothes or in all in white. If anyone has skis or snowboards, use them as part of the décor. Crank down the air conditioning and bring out the après ski snacks.

2. Wear anything but clothes

No, this is not a nudist party, so chill! (Sorry, guys!) The rule is guests (and members) can wear anything that is NOT generally considered clothing. Outfits constructed from plastic trash bags, dresses made from newspaper, pants made from duct tape…all good. The more creative, the better. A tip…keep plenty of tape and staplers around for on-the-spot repairs!

1. So hipster it hurts

Hipsters aren’t like anyone else – except other hipsters. Watch The Hipster Song on YouTube, then start planning. Get the members of your fraternity or sorority to wear hoodies, Chuck Taylors and some Ray Bans, and practice looking bored. What to serve? Coffee, of course!

Top 10 Adjustments to Life After College

August 29, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Last year, when fall rolled around, you were busy picking classes, stocking up on supplies at the bookstore and making plans for the weekend. In fact, for most of your life, everything has revolved around a school calendar.

But then something weird happened. You graduated. (I know, you’re still wondering how that snuck up on you!) Now you have a job – and autumn is just another season on the calendar. And it’s just not the same.

Here are the top 10 adjustments to life after college…how many of them are you facing this year?

10.Managing your career – or life without a syllabus

In college you had a syllabus. If you did what it said, and passed the tests, you moved on to the next level of classes. In a career, you’re expected to do what’s required and then some. And even that might not guarantee promotions or raises, especially in today’s economy. It’s up to you to figure out how to get ahead.

9. Why skipping classes didn’t prepare you for PTO

In college, missing a class because of a hangover or a late night study session usually just meant grabbing your buddy’s notes to catch up. At work, missing a day, or even a few hours because of a late night means using your Paid Time Off (PTO), if you have any. Or losing pay, or maybe your job, if you don’t.

8. What happened to my free time

For years, you’ve had summers off, plus holidays, winter break and spring break. And if you managed your schedule right in college, you probably only had classes 3 or 4 days a week for a few hours. No more. Most entry level jobs offer a week (or two at most) for the the whole year.

7. Where are all the people my age?

One of the hardest adjustments to life after college is the loss of all those potential friends. From the dorms and the Greeks to the sporting events and the classes, there were always people your age, doing the things you liked to do. Once you leave college, you’ll have to work at finding friends, especially if you’ve moved to a new city, or if your coworkers are older.

6. Parties, parties, parties — NOT!

Let’s face it…college is as much about the parties as the classes. But once you have that degree in hand, your access to endless parties disappears. And so does the time to recover from partying.

5. Clothes really do matter after all

One of the most expensive adjustments to life after college is clothing. Most college students are shocked to discover just how much a work wardrobe costs.

I know some guys who went through four years of college without ever wearing any shoes except flip-flops. Their wardrobe consisted of a dozen pairs of shorts, a couple of pairs of jeans, and a closet full of beer t-shirts. Hardly the stuff they could wear even on casual Fridays at work.

4. Goals? I need to have goals?

When you’re in middle school, your goal is to get to high school. In high school, it’s to get to college. And in college, it’s to graduate. But then what?

There are no ready-made goals after college, and that’s a tough adjustment for many recent graduates. After graduation, your goals are what you decide they are.

3. You mean I have to pay the deposits myself?

After college, it’s not about choosing among the dorm, frat house or a student apartment. It’s about deciding where you can live and then finding roommates who you can live with even though you may have nothing in comman with them. And then there’s the furniture and dishes and ….Who knew having University Housing assign you a room and a roommate would ever look like a good thing?

2. What happened to the Student Health Center?

Although recent changes in insurance laws allow parents to keep children up to age 25 on their health insurance, odds are you’ll need to get your own insurance soon after graduation.

Another change? No more student health center for drop-in health care.

1. These relationships are, well, real relationships!

An unexpected area where people find big changes in life after college is in relationships. The casual dating and fluid relationships of college will give way to more serious and committed relationships as people begin to think about starting families, buying houses and settling down.

Top 10 Ways to Stay Organized in College

August 29, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Starting college is exciting, scary, wonderful and confusing. And sometimes overwhelming, especially when it comes to staying on top of assignments, laundry and your social life.

But with a little planning and the right tools, you can keep it all under control. Here are our top 10 tips for staying organized in college.

10. Have a calendar in your room

Maybe it seems old-fashioned in these days of handheld everything, but an old-fashioned wall calendar at your desk is critical to organization in college. The size, location and viability of a wall calendar makes it the best tool for staying on track with projects, exams and big events.

9. Have a second calendar with you

This is where your smart phone or tablet can come in. Or you can use a paper planner. Either way, make sure it’s small enough to carry with you every day…and then do it!

8. Record it right away

One of the best ways to stay organized in college is to make it a habit to record every deadline, assignment, or event as soon as you learn about it. Jot it in your phone or planner, then copy major deadlines and such to the large wall calendar as soon as you get back to your room.

7. Use folders

Get a stack of file folders and use them to hold papers on your desk. Label one for each project, then tuck research, handouts and other items you need for that project into the folder.

This simple habit will save you from late night searches through stacks of papers – a huge time and stress saver!

6. Take a stapler to class

Many professors will give out papers during class. As soon as you receive that paper in class, staple it to the notes for that day. Not only will that prevent papers from being misplaced, the notes that go with the paper will be right there when it’s time to study.

If you use a laptop or tablet to take notes, keep one paper notebook with you to store handouts. Date the page, and staple the handout to it. That way you’ll know which handouts go with which notes on your computer.

5. Read the syllabus

All too many college students forget to read the syllabus in detail. That can lead to missed deadlines and forgotten assignments. A key to staying organized in college is to read it, enter the important dates into your calendars, and staple it into your notebook.

4. Record grades

As soon as you find out how your professor will handle grading, record it somewhere. If it’s four tests and two papers, note that and leave a blank space for the grade next to each. As you receive grades, record them. That way, you’ll always know where you stand, and when you have to address a too-low average in a class.

3. Work backwards from due dates

As soon as you know the due dates for your major papers and projects, sit down with a calendar, record the due date, then start working backwards. Figure out when your rough draft needs to be done, when your research needs to be done, and when your topic has to be finalized. That timeline will tell you when to start on each project.

This tip may keep you from ever having to pull an all-nighter!

2. Use reminders

Once you have due dates and dates for the steps in your projects, use computer reminders to stay aware.

1. Set priorities

Of course, you want to have fun in college. But you also want to be back next year. So set your priorities. Make sure you have time for social events, but take care that a last minute invitation to go out doesn’t override your study or project plans.

Top 10 Best Universities in the World

June 27, 2011

A list of the top ten best universities in the worldContributed by Paul Seaburn, Top 10 Guru

If you could attend any university in the world, which one would it be?

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Top 10 College School Colors

June 15, 2011

A list of the top ten college school colorsContributed by Robert Blaine, Top 10 Guru

Your school’s colors are maybe the last things you should think about when enrolling in a college, yet the first things people notice about you when you walk through town.

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Top 10 College Campus Safety Tips

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One of the top ten college campus safety tipsContributed by Cindi Pearce, Top 10 Guru

You aren’t in Oz anymore. Although you may have known your neighborhood and your hometown stomping grounds like the back of your hand this is not so when you are new to a college campus.

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Top 10 Experiences that Help You Get Into College

April 22, 2011

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Summer is a great time to gain some great experience to have on your resume, since you are not taking classes.

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Top 10 Unusual College Majors

April 4, 2011

A list of the top ten unusual college majorsContributed by Paul Seaburn, Top 10 Guru

Are you looking for a college major that is both fun and challenging and will stand out on your resume? Are you a college athlete looking for classes that won’t interfere with sports?

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