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Freshman Experience Articles

  • Dorm Room Decor - decorating your dorm on a shoestring (not with shoestrings)
    • Whether your dorm room looks like a prison or a palace, you have to make your mark and turn this blank canvas into a space you can call your own. My first dorm room looked more like a prison, and I was entirely unprepared to decorate the place beyond my colorful comforter and a lava lamp. By the end of the year, my dorm had been transformed into a space that looked great and I actually enjoyed spending time in, which was a bit surprising judging by how prison-like it began..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Escape the Cafeteria for Half the Price - your half price dining extravaganza
    • Whether your school has an amazing cafeteria with meals worthy of a top restaurant or it tastes like leftovers from the local prison, you will no doubt yearn for a good meal off campus. If you're going on a date, hanging out with friends, or just looking for some quality time alone, the meal will be excellent, but the bill is always more than you expected to pay. What if you could sit down at a top restaurant but only pay what you had stashed away for your fast food run? You can..... (Click here for the full article)

  • A Procrastinator's Best Friend - learn marvelous tricks of the paper trade
    • The professor stands at the front of the classroom and announces the due date for that ten page paper you have been dreading, and you are relieved to find out that you have an entire month to write it. Of course, that was nearly a month ago, and your plan to write the paper in sections over time has flown out the window, just like you plan to do if you can't get this paper done on time. Whether you are a chronic procrastinator, a perfectionist who feels like you are working nonstop, a slacker who knows you are just hanging on, or even if you are just plain lazy, I am about to introduce you to your new best friend..... (Click here for the full article)

  • The Textbook Tango - cut your textbook costs in half, then resell them at a profit
    • College students can easily spend over three hundred dollars per semester on textbooks alone. Believe me when I tell you this: Use your college bookstore as the absolute last resort. If money is important to you, keeping more of the money you already have should be a top priority, and textbooks are where you can cut costs the most. Most college bookstores sell both new and used copies of course textbooks, but don’t be fooled into believing that the prices of the used books are a good deal. I have literally gone to my school’s bookstore and gasped at how much people are lining up to pay. I can buy a brand new textbook online for half the school bookstore’s price, and I can also buy the new version online for less than a highlighted and battered used textbook. I will tell you how you can do the same..... (Click here for the full article)

  • The World of Online Auctions - learn how to avoid the pitfalls, then enjoy the rewards
    • When approached properly, online auctions are an amazing resource for bargains on practically everything you need, but you need to know how to avoid the pitfalls before you can enjoy the rewards. I first began using eBay in August of 1999, so I guess I am an online auction veteran of sorts. I have learned a lot in those passing years, both good and bad, so heed my advice and use eBay the right way..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Software for the Student Budget - same software, different price
    • I believe that Adobe Photoshop is so amazing that I even took an entire college course about the software, but with such a high price tag I never thought that I would be able to buy it. I had received Adobe Photoshop Limited Edition as a gift many years ago, but it was way overdue for an upgrade, and I wanted the power and control of the full version. It was during this course that I saw a poster on one of our bulletin boards on campus touting a student discount on software of up to seventy-five percent. I immediately thought that it was some sort of scam, but I wrote down the website address anyway. I am so glad that I did..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Your Free Financial Aid Assistant - avoid the scams and find the money you need
    • Unless you are one of the lucky few to have received a full college scholarship, you most likely would not turn down some free tuition assistance. Unfortunately, there are many websites scattered throughout the internet that are willing to capitalize on the financial desperation of college freshman by charging students to purchase access to an “exclusive” scholarship database. Far too many people send their money through their modems only to realize that the exclusive booklet they were promised consists of scholarships that anyone could learn about with minimal effort. If someone is charging you for financial aid, a paradox in itself, odds would indicate that it is some type of scam and the only person being aided financially is not going to be you..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Inkology 101 - learn to buy your inkjet cartridges online for a fraction of the price
    • Just as your printer seems to burn through ink at an incredible pace, you may notice that purchasing those cartridges is burning through your wallet. Ink is a necessity for all students, and trust me, professors do not accept the fact that your printer ran out of ink as an excuse, whether it is true or not. If you run out of ink, you either need a school library that lets you print, a generous friend, or a backup supply of ink cartridges. Having the latter never hurts, and I actually recommend it, as the other two options are never guaranteed..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Computer Tune-Ups for the Novice - how I rescued my iBook from retirement
    • Many years ago, I purchased a turquoise clamshell iBook on eBay , and I absolutely loved having the portability of a laptop. As years passed, I upgraded my primary desktop computer, leaving my iBook light years behind. The desktop had a newer operating system, faster CPU, more RAM, and a larger display, so I would usually latch myself to the desk and work with the desktop computer until I yearned for the couch. Purchasing another laptop was financially out of the question, so I abandoned my iBook and let it collect dust for years..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Email as Individual as You Are - how to get a truly unique email address
    • I am not a psychic, but I am going to make a prediction - I predict that your email address has numbers in it! At the very least, I predict that you thought of the perfect email address only to learn that someone else had already claimed it and you needed to go back to the drawing board. When my family first went online about eight years ago, I was positive that I had created the most unique email address ever, and no one else could have possibly thought of it before me. Well, I was wrong, and our internet service provider suggested I use an amalgam of my first and last name with a string of random numbers at the end. In the past eight years, the number of claimed email addresses has risen exponentially, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have that unique address that sets you apart from all the rest..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Your Contact for Contacts - tips on obtaining contact lenses
    • Whether you’ve worn contacts for years or you just decided you’d like to change your eye color for a while, 1-800 CONTACTS is your contact. Living in a dorm in a new town is all about new experiences, but flipping through the yellow pages to find a local pharmacy to buy your contacts is not one of the experiences you are seeking. Saving time and saving money can be mutually exclusive, but no sacrifices are necessary when it comes to purchasing your contact lenses..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Convenience By Mail - regain your entertainment independence
    • The freshman student mailbox is usually stuffed with college announcements, cafeteria food schedules, and the occasional greeting card from home. Even the checkless Hallmark card is enough to brighten your day, but it's possible for your student mailbox to function as a portal to the outside world in more ways than one, especially if you are one of the many freshmen whose car stayed at home with your dog or cat. The good old days of driving to your local movie rental shack seem such a distant memory when you are thrown into a new town. The stranded freshman may actually be able to regain some entertainment independence with the help of new websites serving convenience by mail..... (Click here for the full article)

  • The Drugstore at Your Door - what you need to stay healthy
    • Being a college freshman in a new town can be extremely disorienting, as you have no idea where to go to buy what you need, and this is especially difficult for freshmen who do not bring their car to college. If you have ever stayed at a hotel, you know how expensive a tube of toothpaste can become in their gift shop, and most college gift shops are not there for your convenience, they are there to make a profit. I have seen products in college bookstores that were literally three to five times marked up, capitalizing on the desperation of a carless confused freshman. There are also plenty of products that you cannot even find on your campus. Instead of paying through the nose or wondering aimlessly on foot block after block, just boot up your computer and buy the things you need..... (Click here for the full article)

  • The Art Student's Secret Weapon - your source for art supplies online
    • Art majors may be paying tuition to learn new techniques and methods, but more often than not, you are left holding the bill for all of the art supplies you need to complete your projects. Art supplies vary widely in quality, and subsequently, in price. Instead of dropping in at your local hobby shop and paying high prices for whatever happens to be available, go to a store that never closes, offers unbelievable prices, and the convenience of never leaving your dorm..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Flip Flopping on Floppy Disks - the ultimate replacement for the old floppy
    • Many years ago, floppy disks were the standard for file sharing and homework portability, with stacks of floppy disks hardly holding anything in today’s world of enormous file sizes and disc burning. Times have changed, and it can be hard to keep up. Floppy disks were so simple because of the ability to add and delete specific files without affecting the rest of the data being stored on the disk. Now most computers need a stand alone floppy drive just to read those old relics, but what is the best replacement for the trusted floppy?.... (Click here for the full article)

  • Travel Options for Everyone - travel smart and pay less
    • Every college freshman must travel. It’s a fact, plain and simple. Whether you are just going to school, home for winter break, partying during spring break, or escaping for a three day weekend, travel is an essential part of college life. Flights, rental cars, hotels, vacation packages, and even condos can be more affordable if you know where to look. You may even save so much on your essential travel to and from school that you can tuck enough away for a pure pleasure trip with friends..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Talk is Cheap - learn how to keep in touch without spending too much
    • For most students, the freshman year of college is the first time that they will be living away from their family. The fact that there may be many miles between you and your family does not mean that you cannot talk to one another often. Growing up, I remember my grandparents treating long distance telephone calls as though it was outrageously expensive, even though prices had fallen significantly since they had been ingrained to keep long distance calls short and sweet. In today’s market, long distance is becoming more accessible and more affordable, which benefits every college freshman..... (Click here for the full article)

  • Escape the Ordinary at an Extraordinary Price - spontaneous travel secrets
    • Most college students crave spontaneity, and whether it is spring or winter break, or even just a three day weekend, getting out of town is a dream come true. Planning these last minute adventures usually means that you pay a higher price, but not at 11th Hour Vacations, which specializes in last minute travel bargains, as its name implies. They help you capitalize on the fact that most planes, hotels, and cruises are not quite full, so they unload the available space at an unbelievable discount. Hotwire also taps into this bargain reserve of last minute travel..... (Click here for the full article)

  • The Perfect Car - how I found the perfect car on the other side of the country
    • Next to your home, your car is one of the most expensive things you will ever purchase, which is why a great deal of consideration must go into choosing the perfect car. In 2001, my mother decided that it was time to replace the car she had driven since 1989, so I offered to help her find a vehicle that fit all of her needs. We test drove both cars and SUVs at our local dealerships, and after considering our experience with the ride, researching online, and comparing prices, we decided that the perfect vehicle was a new small SUV that had just been released the same year. Since it was so new, supply began struggling to keep up with demand, and we learned that we had two choices. My mother could either compromise and buy a model locally that was not the color she wanted and did not have all of the features she wanted, or she could order directly from the manufacturer and be placed on a mile long waiting list. Neither option sounded very appealing, so I stepped in..... (Click here for the full article)

  • The Million Dollar Question - win a million with absolutely nothing to lose
    • I would love to win a million dollars, but I have a small problem - I hate losing my money. During the honeymoon period immediately following the purchase of a lottery ticket, I have dreams of grandeur, imagining everything that I would do with one million dollars and everything that I would quit forever. As soon as the balls are drawn on television and I see that I didn’t even match a single number, I kick myself for even buying the ticket in the first place. I would have been better off with a pack of gum!.... (Click here for the full article)

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