Archive for September, 2007
So, we’ve been through movies, TV shows, and video games (although the last one wasn’t a top ten), so it’s time for the top ten most popular books in college. Now, clearly college students have to do a lot of reading anyway (even engineering majors and math majors have to read huge books…go figure). In any case, again using the wonders of facebook, I’ve come up with a definitive top ten list. Keep in mind, if textbooks counted, I’m sure this list would look different.
10. The Giver – The first book on the countdown has only been around since 1993. It is also the first of a few books on the list that many college students will have read either in grade school or high school. The Giver is classic tale about a utopia that may not be so perfect. Who knew that you could ever read books in school that you actually like?
9. Pride and Prejudice – To be honest, we all know what type of college student reads Pride and Prejudice (women). I have yet to meet a female who’s heart doesn’t melt at the thought that Mr. Darcey and Elizabeth Bennett might actually end up together. Couple that with the Keira Knightley movie (and for some of the more enthusiastic, the Colin Firth mini series), and college females just love Jane Austen’s prized work. Now I need to do something incredibly manly, someone throw me a football.
8. The Notebook – Well, I just ruined all my attempts at manliness by listing this next book. Ever since McAdams and Gosling hit the scene in the popular romantic film, people have been reading the book. I will make a guess that once again more women than men are reading The Notebook, but I’ve been wrong before. To be honest, I didn’t even realize the movie was based on a book until researching for this top ten list.
7. Lord of the Rings (trilogy) – We next move on to a fantastic trilogy. Yes, some people actually read the books rather than just watching the movies (I know you think it’s crazy, but I actually have met people who are obsessed with the films yet have never read the books…shocking). In any case, between completing required reading, you may just find some people with their noses in a Lord of the Rings book. Just remember the maxim coined by Flight of the Conchords, “Frodo, don’t wear the ring.”
6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Rarely can you find someone who has read this novel and not enjoyed it. In fact, a 1991 survey by the Book of the Month Club ranked it second among books “most often cited as making a difference” (in the lives of readers). Guess what book was first? That’s right, the Bible.
5. The Great Gatsby – A book that many may have read in school. It wasn’t required for me, but I read it anyway. Students still love F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book. The sad thing is, that it wasn’t very popular until after his death. At least it’s still here for loads of college students to enjoy.
4. Catcher in the Rye – Another book that college students may have read in high school. The story of Holden Caulfield has captured the attention of teens, and college students for years. Who doesn’t love a story about teen angst that contains profanity AND sexuality?
3. Angels and Demons – Perhaps The Da Vinci Code is more famous (as well as controversial), but it all started with Angels and Demons. Talk to many college students, and they’ll probably tell you that Angels and Demons is much, much better.
2. 1984 – Given how some people view the present administration, it’s no wonder that 1984 is among the most popular books in college. In fact, just last year I saw a production of 1984 at Kenyon College. George Orwell’s story still proves to be quite interesting to many students. Who says college students are politically apathetic? At least they’ll read about dictatorships.
1. Harry Potter (series) – This may not surprise you, but much like people in grade school, high school, and the work force, college students LOVE Harry Potter. The sheer amount of facebook groups would definitely support that fact. Actually, one can even meet many people in college who resemble Harry Potter characters. Given the tremendous success of the series, it’s no wonder that Harry Potter tops the list as the most popular book on college campuses.
So ends the top ten series. We here at College and Finance may bring it back at some point, but for now, we can’t think of any other top tens that you should know of. If you haven’t read any of these books, you seriously need to take a trip to your local library and see what all the fuss is about.
September 29 2007 | College Fun | 4 Comments »
For some reason, college students seem to get scammed quite a bit. Unfortunately, all of the scams and rip-offs cannot be avoided, but there are some good ways to help ease the pain. Here are some of the biggest rip-offs on college campuses, and some suggestions for avoiding them.
Textbooks – There may be no greater injustice than how much one must pay for textbooks. Even if you buy used textbooks from the bookstore, you still pay much, much more than they pay you when you return it at the end of the year. For example, the bookstore bought my Statistics textbook (that I paid $100 for) for $15. They turned around and were selling used copies for $50 bucks. What a rip-off! Not to mention, many of the textbooks that are required are written by the very professor who’s teaching the class. I wonder if they get a profit when someone buys the textbook they wrote? I was furious one time when I had to buy an Economics textbook for $50 dollars. We never ended up using it at all (the entire class was just lecture notes), I got my A, but the University Bookstore wouldn’t buy it back because they were releasing a new edition.
Rip-off Defense: The best way to defend against the injustice that is college textbooks is to avoid the bookstores at all costs. EBay and Facebook Marketplace are great venues to find used textbooks for better prices. There are also a slew of used textbook stores available online (although I’m not sure how good some of the deals are, or if they may be rip-offs in and of themselves). If you can buy one textbook and share it with a friend in the class, you can also save some cash. Better still is to just buy it from a friend, he or she will give you a better price than the bookstore (they may even get more than the bookstore would offer as well).
Campus Parking – Campus parking varies from school to school. From what I’ve seen, large urban schools are where students get screwed the most. At my school, a parking pass that allows you to park literally a few miles away from main campus costs $300. Four years previously it only cost $60. Not to mention the battle that usually occurs when students have to deal with parking officers. In fact, last year alone I probably spent almost $500 on parking and tickets (there’s a few lengthy stories, but I assure you, I was getting scammed by campus parking enforcers). Using parking meters is just bad news because some transportation and parking officers will sit and wait for the meter to run out (seriously, it happened to my dad when he was visiting me). Small colleges generally have much better parking, but passes are still quite expensive almost anywhere, and tickets are always terrible.
Rip-off Defense: If you don’t need a car, don’t bring it to campus. Use alternate means of transportation (campus bus services, shuttles, a bike, even a skateboard), bum rides off of your friends. You can also try to find better parking for cheaper (possibly going through local businesses), or just move your car around in business lots and hope you don’t get a ticket. Other than that, universities pretty much own students with parking fees.
Athletic Events – Now, I realize that many schools are different. Smaller schools certainly don’t make students pay for tickets (or, if they do, it’s pretty cheap). However, for those of us at big time programs, tickets to football and or basketball can be a complete rip-off. When my grandfather was at Ohio State, tickets to every football and basketball game cost a total of $5. Well, I just paid $180 for tickets to 5 home games. Oh my, how the times change. I realize that student tickets are still discounted, but given the fact that many schools don’t sit their students on the 50 (or half court), or anywhere near the best seats, I think it’s a rip-off. It’s the students’ team, so they should be allowed to have the best seats, at the lowest prices.
Rip-Off Defense: One option is obviously just not going to games. However, for me, that’s unthinkable. The best defense is to buy your tickets, and subsequently sell tickets for any games that you may not be able to attend (or don’t want to attend, although even playing a I-AA team can sometimes get interesting). Generally speaking, students can charge some alumnus much more than they paid for a halfway decent game. Some students can even profit from it. In fact, my friend actually would buy college sports tickets, and then sell them.
Credit Cards – Credit card companies LOVE college students. They give students loads of credit because they know their parents will bail them out. They also want to get students spending early and often. They offer great promotions (”sign up for this credit card and get a free hat!”) in order to get students to sign up. If you ever notice, the credit card companies and banks may be out in force when students first arrive back on campus. That’s because they want you to get in debt ASAP. They know that most college students are living on their own for the first time, and who doesn’t want to use that nice piece of plastic for pizza and beer every night of the week? Credit cards are pretty much one of the biggest rip-offs college students face.
Rip-off Defense: The biggest mistake you can make is to sign up for multiple credit cards. My step-sister once thought she’d be clever by signing up for loads of credit cards, collecting the promotional rewards, and then promptly canceling them. Well, canceling all those credit cards pretty much destroyed her credit, and it took her a long time to get it back on track. I suggest getting one credit card (because it’s a great idea to build credit while in college, else you get stuck with a $500 monthly credit limit when you’re 24, which happened to my other sister who didn’t want to get a credit card in college), sticking with it, making payments on time, and just be smart with your money. Credit card companies will still love giving you more credit (especially if you pay on time). My credit line more than doubled randomly. When I asked the credit card company why this was, they told me they weren’t at liberty to discuss it, which I thought was quite odd. In any case, they want me spending more, but I’m not going to let them win.
Random University Fees – Every time I turn around and look at my tuition bill, it seems like there’s another fee. There’s the basic classroom fee, and obviously the professors’ salary, but there’s also other fees that sometimes I don’t feel I should have to pay. Paying for a huge recreational facility that not everyone uses doesn’t seem logical to me. Paying a fee for free bus transportation when I don’t use the bus also doesn’t seem quite fair. Calculate the fact that there may be loads of other fees that seem to make little sense, and college students sometimes get ripped-off by their own university. Sometimes I wonder if Universities enjoy going Hughes Net on their students.
Rip-off defense: I’ve said it before, but use the university resources you pay for. You can’t really avoid having to pay the fees. The university is the boss, and you’re just a lowly peasant. You could have a student rally in protest if you want, but generally the results aren’t very favorable. If they are going to charge me an arm and a leg for a recreational facility, then I’m going to make sure I hit the gym like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Campus Dining – I hesitate to list this one, because it seems like every college has a different way of doing meals. My college has meal plans. My girlfriends’ college makes students pay a flat fee in the beginning of the year, and meals are essentially come and eat as you please. That being said, campus dining generally always over charges. I know students can eat more cheaply (and possibly more healthy) then they actually do. Not to mention, sometimes the quality of college cafeteria food is very poor. If I’m paying hundreds of dollars a quarter to eat, at least let me have a nice steak! Not to mention, campus-dining hours always seem to be ridiculous. I hate how on weekends cafeterias have weird hours, so students are forced to go elsewhere or figure something else out. As for breakfast, some colleges hold breakfast from like 7-10AM. What college student wants to have to wake up that early to get breakfast? Especially if they have class at 12. Maybe I’m just lazy and love sleep, but come on, is serving breakfast until 2PM really that difficult?
Rip-off Defense: The best defense for this depends on how you’re university runs things. In my case, it means choosing the cheapest meal plan that will fit your needs, and possibly getting your own food and trying to cook cheaply for yourself (Ramen noodles galore). In the case of schools like my girlfriend’s (who have to pre-pay for their food), it means eating in the cafeteria whenever possible, no matter how terrible the food might be. Pretty much having bad college food is almost unavoidable. It’s almost a right of passage.
Unfortunately, when some people look at college students, they only see dollar signs. So, following these few tips may help you to not get completely ripped-off in college (but once again, sometimes it is just unavoidable).
September 27 2007 | College Advice and Financial Advice | No Comments »
Welcome to the Third Edition of the Carnival of College and Finance. We had some really great submissions this time around. There was also a fair share of unrelated submissions that I had to remove (how many college students are really concerned about refinancing their mortgages!?). Take a look at the submissions, and feel free to submit your content to the next carnival!
Mark Montgomery presents Colleges Love To Hate US News and World Report posted at Great College Advice.
Zantor presents The 10 Best Facebook Apps for Students and 3 to Avoid posted at The Student Help Forum.
Mr Credit Card presents Citi MTVU Credit Card Review posted at Ask Mr Credit Card’s Blog.
Sam presents Student Loans for College. Clear, Quick and Easy Info posted at Surfer Sam and Friends, saying, “Student Loans, Learn Now and Pay Later. Borrow Wisely for College.
Clear, Quick and Easy Info.”
Ravi Vora presents The 7 Deadly Sins of College Spending posted at Ravi Vora.
Brian presents Give Your Graduate the Gift of a Financial Education posted at FinancialDominance.com, saying, “Explains why giving your child a session or two with a financial planner before college can save them a lifetime of financial struggles.”
Pinyo Bhulipongsanon presents Saving $250,000 for my son’s college education posted at Moolanomy, saying, “This post is about putting together a college saving plan in place for my son. It shows approximately how much college will cost in 2024 and how I can save about $5,000 a year to reach that saving goal.
Ted Reimers presents Where to Buy, Sell and Trade Textbooks posted at CampusGrotto.
Annette Berlin presents Clep When You Can posted at Frugal Journey, saying, “Did you know that most four year colleges charge over $750.00 for a three credit class? That price includes tuition and fees but not books or supplies. The textbooks can easily add another $50.00 to the cost of those credits. There is a cheaper way, however. It’s possible to attain those same three credits for about $80.00 verses the $750.00.”
Mike Lazear presents Is College For You? posted at The Great Office Escape, saying, “General post exploring whether college is worth the expense and how alternatives to higher education are better for some prospective students in the long run.”
Adam the Investor presents The Fundamentals of Successful Investing posted at The Investor’s Journal, saying, “Start investing while in college by learning the fundamentals of successful investing”
SpiKe presents 10 Tips For Surviving Freshman Week posted at Organize IT
Ralph Jean-Paul presents Be Smarter in 30 Days posted at Potential 2 Success, saying, “Learn how to get smarter so you can easily breeze through test and assignments.”
Jimmy Atkinson presents The Self-Directed Student Toolbox: 100 Web Resources for Lifelong Learners | OEDb posted at OEDb: Online Education Database.
That concludes this edition. Hopefully you found the submissions to be interesting. Feel free to submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of College and Finance using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
September 18 2007 | Carnival | 3 Comments »