Archive for November 2014

The new college sports: Dodge a Ball, Dodge a Zombie, Dodge a Rail

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Ah, college. Time to hit the books, study hard, make friends and… RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!! ZOMBIES!!

No joke. Students get chased by the brain-hungry living dead at Hillsdale College in Michigan. And it’s awesome.
College is serious stuff, but it’s fun too and letting off steam is important. For years, intramural sports and other organized activities have done the trick. But with 40 million youths nationwide involved in athletics, colleges now are getting creative and expanding offerings.

Your Dad may have been satisfied with intramural basketball, but nowadays there’s so much more:

Zombie Runs
On Halloween, Hillsdale College students toed a starting line like any other 3K. Except they wore costumes. And carried flags. And were chased by zombies. Those who finished the race with all their flags avoided infection. Those who didn’t became zombies and the fun multiplied.

Serious Horseplay
Albion College calls it a “340-acre classroom experience … with leather seats.” The Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center allows students to board their own horses and hosts equestrian teams. But it’s also open to the entire campus and offers rides and instructions to all comers.

Wiffle Time
Wiffle ball has become a more hardcore since the days when anything past the shrubs was a ground-rule double. The University of Detroit Mercy hosts an intramural league featuring the iconic perforated plastic ball.

Dodge Ball
Alma College has a wiffle ball league as well. But it ups the ante with leagues for pickleball, kanjan and, the most sadistic schoolyard sport in history, dodge ball. Olivet College and Calvin College have dodge ball leagues as well, which is perfect for relieving finals’ week aggression.

Pong is King
Dodge ball is overtly aggressive. Its gentler cousin, ping pong, is merely passive aggressive. But make no doubt: The club games and intramural leagues at Calvin College, Hillsdale College and Albion College are legendary and ruthless.

There’s so much more
Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities also offer traditional intramural sports from flag football and soccer to volleyball and ultimate Frisbee.

It’s all part of a dynamic, truly unique experience that allows students to forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds. And the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Six Tips for Making the Most Important Decision of Your Life

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This is it. The most important decision of your life. Mess this up and your whole future is…Stop right there. Take a breath. It’s going to be OK. And probably even fun.

Sure, choosing a college is important. But it doesn’t need to cause hyperventilation. Like most overwhelming projects, applying to colleges is best managed through small, obtainable steps.

Watch your time
Quick. Look at the calendar. How many months before you start college? Junior and senior years can fly by. Make a calendar and note application deadlines. Work backwards and set incremental deadlines for parts of the process such as visiting campuses and writing essays.

Do your homework
First, meet your guidance counselor. As Albion College says, it’s their “job to help you succeed. Put them to work for you.”

Then gather information about colleges from anywhere you can – alumni, teachers, former students, mailings, online, campus rankings. Be a sponge. Create spreadsheets. Use old-fashioned paper. Start drafting pros and cons of each college but keep your mind open to change.

See for yourself
Check out your top picks in person. Go on the official tour. Go on the unofficial one as well. Talk to students and teachers. Step away from the tour group and linger in bookstores or the quad.

Can you see yourself there? What are the people like? What does your gut say? Be mindful of everyday considerations – how far is it from home, is it in an area you like? But be open to possibility and wonder. This is a place you’ll be for four years. You will change.

Strut your stuff
Take advantage of colleges, such as Hillsdale, that allow prospective students to interview. Make no mistake: They are judging you. But it’s also an opportunity for you to judge them, tell your story in person and set yourself apart.

Prepare for a gut check
Aim high. But keep your feet on the ground. At some point, most must ask: Can I afford this school? When you do, look beyond advertised tuition and research actual costs that are reduced through financial aid and scholarships.

More than 90 percent of students at Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities, for instance, get financial aid. That drastically reduces costs. Consider four-year graduation rates. Most public institutions typically require five years to graduate. That increases tuition costs by 20 percent — tens of thousands of dollars. The graduation rate is double at private colleges, allowing students an extra year of earnings and experience in their careers.

Find your bliss
Do your best. Meet your deadlines. Then remember: Everything is out of your hands. Some disappointment probably is inevitable. So is amazement, joy and pride. Be serious. But don’t take things so seriously. Things have a way of working out.

Bonus Tip: Be Different.
Consider Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities, where students forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Ten Hacks for a Fabulous Dorm Room

The average dorm room looks like this:
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Pretty boring, huh? And some colleges don’t make it easy to transform drab into dramatic, imposing a host of rules and restrictions on decorating. But with a little creativity and ingenuity, ugly cinder blocks can morph into something wonderful.

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Here are 10 hacks to add sizzle and swagger – and maximize square footage – to even the blah-est dorm rooms.

1. Washi Tape Frames

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For about $20, cheap posters look like works of art that can be easily removed at semester’s end.

2. Shoe Organizer Pantries

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Organize snacks for late-night study sessions in the back of your door. You’ll never have to guess again when you’re running low on Twizzlers.

3. Chalk Paint Planners

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Organize your week on easily creatable – and changeable – planners.

4. Move int Take a seat.

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Add pillows to moving crates for homey touches. When you have to move again, the boxes are nearby.

5. Never look for a pen again

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Use hot glue to attach magnets to old cans and affix them to mini fridges for an elegant, homey accent.

6. Go vertical

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Empty, unused space is an enemy to every dorm. Get creative by adding shelves to closets, using every inch under the bed for storage.

7. Twinkle, Twinkle

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Organize photos by hanging them on twinkle lights.

8. Laundry Basket Storage Shelves

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Get extra space by ditching dresses for stacked laundry baskets affixed in closets.

9. Never look for your phone again

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Keep it and other essentials handy with a cheap silverware tray that keeps everything you need within reach.

10. Create with Contact Paper

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Contact paper isn’t just for lining shelves. It’s perfect for creating inexpensive and temporary flourishes to make your home away from home unique.

It isn’t always easy. But going the extra yard to express yourself is always worth it.

Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities prizes their freethinking students, allowing them to forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds.
Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.