Try these 5 apps to stay healthy

It’s not always easy to stay healthy in college. You’re studying (at least we hope you’re studying) and you may not be getting enough sleep. You’re going to class (at least we hope you’re going to class) and may not have time to work out as often as you should.  You’re working on homework (OK, you know what we’re going to say here) so you may not be eating the healthy foods that you need to eat.

However, thanks to the marvels of technology, there are mobile apps available to help you. Our friends at Grad Guard have a list of the five apps you can download to help you stay healthy. And, get this: The most expensive one is 99 cents.

Water your body
This app allows you to track your daily water intake, gives helpful tips and facts about the importance of water in staying healthy, and even provides graphs and statistics of your drinking habits. It’s just 99 cents at the App Store.

This free app from the App Store lets you scan the barcodes of products in the grocery stores so you can see if they’re a good match for your dietary needs. And – how cool is this? – it even gives you suggestions for foods that are good or even better for you. You can use it to create grocery lists that feature better foods.

Health Tap
This free app can put you in touch with licensed doctors and medical care providers who can answer your health-related questions. And the best part is it operates around the clock, so if you wake up sick in the middle of the night, you can get information from someone who know whether you’re suffering from a cold or pneumonia. You can get this app in the App Store and on Google Play.

Sleep Cycle
For a mere 99 cents you can get this app from the App Store that, by using the accelerometer on your iPhone will gauge your sleep patterns. Then, using a 30-minute window that ends when your alarm is set to go off, it will wake you during your lightest sleep cycle. Why should you care? ‘Cause waking you up then will make it seem as if you work up on your own, so you’ll feel more well rested.

Workout Plan
Using this fee app, which is available at the App Store, you can set up a workout just for you. It will also remind you of workouts that are overdue and ones that are coming up.

Have you discovered any helpful apps? if so, let us know so we can share them.

Oh, and in case you thought we forgot about Halloween, enjoy:


Tips on how to study for your midterms

Yes, it’s that time – midterm season. The time when you’re faced with a bunch of tests halfway through the semester. And, as you are discovering it, it can be a stressful time. So, how do you cope? Well, there are several ways.

The Freshman 15 blog on Seventeen magazine’s site suggests you:

  • Find some time for yourself, even if it’s something as simple as listening to music.
  • Eat some comfort food. Maybe macaroni and cheese.
  • Sneak in a nap.

But, we know that a lot of that stress comes from test anxiety. And test anxiety comes from not being as well prepared for the test as you can be. Fortunately, there are many resources out there to help you study for your midterms and relieve some of that stress.

Mary Coller, the director of our Academic Advising Center, also has some test-taking strategies that may help you get through mid-term season.

The Huffington Post also offers 12 ways you can ace your exams.

Got any other ideas? Let us know.

10 tips to help your college student through midterms

Tests usually stress most people out, and midterm exams are no exception. You may have been through it yourself and know how stressful it can be. If you haven’t, you can probably imagine how difficult midterm exam time is.

Either way, as a parent, there are things you can do to help your son or daughter make it through. Today’s tips come from College Parent Central.

  1. Realize he/she may be preoccupied
    This may not be the best time to chat at length about issues or problems at home since he/she will be preoccupied with what he/she has to do.
  2. Just listen
    Your son or daughter may want to vent about the workload and may just need you to list. Just listen.
  3. There may be no talking at all
    Or, she or he may not want to talk about it at all. He or she may just want to get it done and over with.
  4. Offer some advice
    Remind your college student that this is just part of the college rhythm, and things will get better.
  5. Remind him/her to stay healthy
    Encourage your son or daughter to stay healthy in what is typically the start of cold and flu season. Also, remind him/her to get help if he/she needs it.
  6. Provide perspective
    Help your college student maintain perspective. If he/she doesn’t do well on the midterm, there is still another half of the class left to make changes to do better.
  7. Don’t micromanage
    Sure you have lots of good suggestions, but let your son or daughter decide what will work best. He/she needs to learn this on his/her own.
  8. Encourage realistic expectations
    If your son or daughter is a first-year year, he or she may not do as well on a midterm since it will be very different than a midterm in high school. Remind him/her that this is a learning experience.
  9. Stay calm    
    Your college student may start feeling overwhelmed. Encourage him to stay calm. Panicking will not help.
  10. Send some love
    This may be the perfect time to send a care package. Our former intern Alicia provided some suggestions awhile back on what kinds of packages college students may want most.

If you have any suggestions please let us know.

How can you party hardy and still be responsible?

It’s no secret that some young people head to college and give in to the temptation of drinking or drinking way too much alcohol. To make students aware of the dangers of overindulging and the consequences they might bring, the Office of Residential Life and Housing on our campus sponsored the Party Hardy Party.

Our intrepid intern Abby Arnold was there and provides today’s post.

Students at the party played games organized by their Resident Advisors and were given the opportunity to win prizes while still learning how to have fun responsibly. Students got the chance to wear “beer goggles,” which when worn show students how they might see things if they were intoxicated. Then they tried to walk a straight line or ride a tricycle from one side of the room to the other.

Representatives from the Allegany New York Fire Department Engine 32 and its EMS representatives taught students what life-saving steps they would need to take if they or someone they know had been drinking excessively.   

            Students also played nonalcoholic flip cup and a BAC — Blood Alcohol Level — game where they would choose they amount of alcohol they were going to drink and try to guess the BAC that went along with that amount. Most found that their guess was extremely low compared to what their BAC would actually be.

Student Mackenzie Heale, a resident advisor, said that the idea for the party was to “make people more aware. Hopefully it will show them that they can party responsibly but still have fun.”  Resident Advisor Quelli McCall hoped that “once people realize what could happen they will take it seriously and try to change their party habits.”

            The night ended with the Pitt Panther making a surprise visit and students signing a banner marking themselves as designated drivers or writing a remembrance note on the banner to those that they had lost due to abuse of drugs, alcohol, or drunk driving.

Are online graduate programs effective?

Today’s guest blogger is Linda Zabriske, who discusses the effectiveness of online education. Linda writes for, a site that provides resources for people who might be considering partial or full graduate education over the Internet.

In recent years the popularity of online college programs has grown extensively, in most cases substantially faster than overall higher education enrollments. In 2006, nearly 20 percent of all U.S. higher education students were taking at least one online course, up 10 percent year to year, and since then, the percentages have only risen. Yet, while some experts agree that the quality of these programs has been steadily improving, many question whether the quality of the programs can keep up with their expansion, and the overall effectiveness of online graduate school has yet to be fully determined.

While online bachelor’s degree programs have had a large following for years through fully online schools like University of Phoenix, in the 2009-2010 school year, the University of Illinois Online enrolled 11,000 students with a focus on graduate degrees. In 2010, the University of California debuted an approximately $6 million online program geared toward graduate and nontraditional students. Many of the nation’s top universities have shown great interest in online schools, and the University of California is hoping to lead the way.

“Somebody is going to figure out how to deliver online education for credit and for degrees in the quality sector- i.e., in the elite sector, I think it ought to be us,” says Christopher Edley Jr., dean of Berkeley’s law school. UC Davis senior lecturer Keith R. Williams has also expressed enthusiasm for the potential of online learning, stating that “having online classes could enable the system to use its resources more effectively, freeing up time for faculty research.”

Like any major innovation, the online programs of major universities have also been widely criticized, often by university faculty and staff.

“Offering full online degrees would undermine the quality of undergraduate instruction,” says Suzanne Guerlac, professor of French at UC Berkeley. Indeed, the education received from online programs cannot yet be proven to match the quality of traditional lecture courses, and many professors are quick to point out the lack of interaction between professors and students in an open, collegiate atmosphere, a factor that they consider crucial to the education experience. Furthermore, while programs like Harvard Extension offer more than 150 online graduate and undergraduate courses, only one-fifth are taught by traditional Harvard faculty, clear evidence that the quality of education is perhaps not yet comparable to the traditional university experience.

Despite the detractors, an online future seems inevitable for higher education. The lucrative and still growing online education market is far too seductive for U.S. universities that are struggling with decreasing government funding and private contributions. However, though the full picture of online education’s success is not yet complete, there is research to suggest it may be a step forward. A 2009 U.S. Education Department analysis found that “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

Faculty and students who embrace the potential of the technology may be taking a leap of faith, but in the long run, they may be heralding a new age in higher education.

Here’s how you can prepare for a college Open House

Earlier this month, we mentioned that attending a college open house is one way that parents – and their college-bound children – can survive the college admissions process. Today, we’re going to talk a little more about open houses.

Many colleges and universities plan their open houses in the fall, when the weather is still pleasant, and the leaves on many campuses are turning gorgeous shades of red, orange and gold. On our campus, we have open houses set for Oct. 20 and Nov. 3. And, we, as many schools do, give prospective students the opportunity to register online for the event.

But how can you make the most of your visit? The Student Advisor Blog offers a free guide to college campus tours that is chock full of tips and advice for those of you starting to look at colleges. Here are some tidbits from the guide:

  • College visits allow you to get to know schools more intimately to see if they’re a good fit. In fact, 65 percent of student surveyed said campus visits were very important when deciding where to apply.
  • The best time to visit, according to one educational consultant, is the afternoon because college students may not be up and around campus in the morning.
  • Experts suggest you visit the top three schools on your list.
  • Try to schedule an interview with an admissions counselor, and if you’re interested in a particular major, see if you can meet with a professor from that department. If you plan on playing sports, you should arrange a time to talk with the coach.
  • Prepare in advance. The more work you put into preparing for your college visit the better your visit will be and the fewer hassles you’ll have.

If you’ve already been through this process and have suggestions, let us know and we’ll share them.

12 ways you can reduce college costs

It’s no secret that college is expensive. However, there are ways to reduce college costs. The Student Advisor Blog  provides 12 tips to help you reduce costs in its Complete Survival Guide for Parents. 

Here are some of those 12:

1. Merit scholarships
Most schools offer merit scholarships,which aren’t based on need, to academically talented students. Check with the schools you’re interested in to see if they offer these kinds of scholarships.

2. Special scholarships
Some schools offer scholarships to students who have particular majors, live in a certain area or have parents who work for a particular company.

3. Credits for life experience
You may be able to earn college credit for life experiences, which means you’ll take fewer credits and save a little money. The National College Level Examination Program, also known as CLEP, which gives students the opportunity to demonstrate what they know by taking an exam and possibly earn college credit.

4. Free room and board
Some schools give students free room and board if students participate in certain programs or work a certain number of hours. For example, on our campus, those students who work as resident advisors, who serve as students’ point of contact for any issues in residence life, receive free room and board.

Those are just some ways you can cut costs. If you have any other cost-saving ideas to share please let us know.