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High School - June 2011

10 Books You Need to Read Before Your Freshman Year

It's helpful to have read certain books before entering college, simply because they are likely to come up in one class or another. Others are important not necessarily because of their 'classic' status, but because of the benefits - including enjoyment - students get from reading them. Here's a list of ten books that incoming college freshmen might want to familiarize themselves with.

10 Worthwhile Electives Students Wish They Took

Just because you aren't majoring in health doesn't mean you couldn't benefit from a course on nutrition. Electives offer students the opportunity to broaden their skills and pursue interests outside of their major fields. If you're not sure what to take, check out these 10 electives that many former students wish they took.

20 Places Where Bookworms Go to Read and Socialize Online

Looking to connect with other readers? There are lots of bookworm-friendly sites dedicated to providing free books and reader forums. This list shows you 20 of the best places to read and socialize online.

2009 State of College Admissions

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) releases a report each year on college admissions in the U.S. Key issues explored in the report typically include high school graduation rates, the role of school counselors, the number of college applicants, early decision and wait lists, the college admissions office and factors that influence admissions decisions. The 2009 report, also explores the effect of the recent economic downturn on the last admission cycle.

25 Helpful Websites for Creative Writers

Need help getting your creative juices flowing? These websites for creative writers offer grammar tips, writing prompts, peer critiques and advice on getting published. Read on to learn how you can strengthen your creative writing on the Web.

3 Languages to Learn Now

With today's job market becoming more and more competitive, recent college grads, and even individuals who have spent years in the workforce, are being challenged to find ways of standing out among the competition. While pursuing advanced degrees and certifications can definitely brighten up your resume, being fluent in a foreign language can sometimes make the difference between you or your competition getting hired for a job.

5 Books To Read Before Starting College

Getting your degree is usually more about what others want you to read than what you're interested in. So before you start college, you should check out some books that you're sure to enjoy. No matter what decade you look in, there are many choices that will not only interest you, but might also inspire your future studies. Here is a look at five of our favorites.

5 Reasons to Apply Undeclared

So the high school graduation cap has been tossed in the air and you've been accepted to the college of your choice. Now comes the inevitable question: What's your major? If you don't know, don't panic: you don't necessarily need to know. You can always choose to enter college as 'undeclared' or 'undecided' and make your decision later. In fact, being undeclared can be beneficial.

A Leader in Service of Students: Study.com Speaks with Dr. Maravene Loeschke

Dr. Maravene Loeschke is president of Mansfield University, and she has an unusual policy: Open doors (and candy jars) for her students in her home. Her unique interactions with students have helped her and Mansfield's administration develop a closer relationship with their student body. Study.com caught up with her to find out more about her philosophy and what she's doing for Mansfield.

Alternative High Schools: Pros and Cons

Education is not one size fits all - some students struggle with the traditional American high school experience. For these teens, alternative high schools can represent a different environment that allows them to thrive. Learn more about the potential benefits and downsides of these schools.

America Heads Back to School

It's back to school season! Don't miss these fun facts from the U.S. Census Bureau on the population of Americans heading back to the classroom this fall.

AP Participation Grows, But Some Racial Disparities Persist

The College Board recently released their annual AP Report to the Nation. The report shows record numbers of students taking the Advanced Placement tests, but significant gaps in both test access and preparation remain for some minority students.

Are High Schools Failing Students?

As the academic year winds down, it is not only students who are subject to assessment. A recent Associated Press-Viacom survey has given young adults the opportunity to evaluate how well high schools prepare students for college and work. Many feel that schools aren't making the grade.

Back to School - Green Style

Whether you're a returning student or getting ready for your first year at college, the back to school season can be full of a surprising amount of waste. Don't miss these tips from the director of sustainability at Wake Forest University for getting back to campus in an eco-friendly fashion.

Banned Books Week - Read a Book and Pass the Word!

Observed during the last week of September each year, Banned Books Week is a fine time to pick up a good book and celebrate the freedom to read anything you want. Learn more about this week and find a list of banned and challenged books to read and discuss.

Break that Block: Five Fun Writing Prompts

We've all been there. You have a big assignment for school or work, but you can't seem to get your thoughts in order. Maybe you feel totally blocked, like your creativity has gone completely AWOL. Here are some entertaining prompts you can use to re-engage your brain.

Bruce Vinik on Study.com: A College Admissions Counselor Reminds Us to Slow Down

Bruce Vinik is a private college admissions counselor and founder of Vinik Educational Placement Services (EPS). Study.com recently spoke to him about admissions madness and how to balance life and college goals and still come out on top.

Buzzwords in Secondary Education

Teachers and administrators often make use of language and definitions that are unique to their profession. Describing everything from classroom methods to reform efforts, this jargon can confuse those outside of the field. Here are some buzzwords in common use today within secondary education.

College Admissions: An Art, Not a Science

It's that time of year again, when college applications have been submitted and students begin waiting for responses. Many anxious applicants imagine decisions will be made by well-organized, emotionless admissions boards. In reality, though, admissions professionals are regular people who are just as inclined to error as the rest of us. And in some cases, this can result in hurtful mistakes.

College Applicants Now Have More Options for Indicating Ethnicity

Aspiring college students no longer have to feel limited when completing their admissions application. They don't just have to stick to checking one box in the racial and ethnic makeup section - they can now notate as many backgrounds as applicable. Study.com's Education Insider takes a look at the changes being implemented by postsecondary institutions across the country, which are allowing students to more precisely self-identify.

College Applications from A to Z

The college admissions process can be intimidating. One way to help lessen your stress is to make sure you're familiar with all the terms you need to know. These key words related to the college application process can be a good place to start.

College Applications Now Ask You About Your Sexual Identity

In August 2011, a private liberal arts college near Chicago made history by adding a single question to its undergraduate application. The optional 'yes' or 'no' question, aimed at determining a student's sexual orientation, is considered a huge step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals. Some say the move is long overdue. But will it be the start of a growing trend?

College Eligible vs. College Ready: Students Identify Shortcomings in College Preparation

A new study by McGraw-Hill Education explores the gap between guidance counselors' perceptions of college eligibility and recent high school grads' experiences in college and the workplace.

College Visits Dos and Don'ts

Are you planning to visit colleges, either to decide where to apply or to decide which admissions offer to accept? The main goal of a campus visit should be to find out if you like the setting and feel comfortable there. During your visit, there are some things you should definitely do - and some others you'll want to avoid.

Compete to Have Obama Speak at Your High School Commencement

The White House and the Department of Education just announced a new competition for public schools. Known as the Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge, the contest invites schools to compete to have President Obama speak at their graduation ceremony.

Decision Anxiety: How To Choose The Right College for You

Do you feel stressed, frustrated or nervous in deciding what college to attend? This can be a daunting task, but if you plan ahead, you'll have a greater chance of choosing a college that fits your needs and interests. The following steps can help relieve anxiety during the college decision process.

Do It on Your Own Time: Life Now, College Later

There's no right time to get a college education. While many high school graduates head straight on to college, that's definitely not the only path to a degree. If you're not sure the traditional route is right for you, read on to learn some tips for living for a college-free life after high school.

Do You Want to be a Green Worker? Consider Community College

The American Association of Community Colleges recently unveiled SEED (Sustainability Education and Economic Development), a program designed to unite community colleges in the effort to train American workers for the new green economy.

Education Good News: HS Graduation Rate is Rising

Although high school dropout rates remain high, a new report from America's Promise Alliance shows that the percentage of American students graduating from high school has been climbing since 2002. The report analyzes 'dropout factories' - the schools that produce the most high school dropouts - and offers suggestions on how we can improve graduation rates further to meet President Obama's education goals.

Emmanuel Schanzer of Bootstrap Talks to Study.com

Bootstrap is an innovative middle school program designed to teach important algebraic concepts. This isn't your typical classroom curriculum, however. Instead, Bootstrap gives students the opportunity to use their numbers know-how to create video games.

Engaged Students and Experiential Learning: Study.com Speaks to Diana Laufenberg at the Science Leadership Academy

Diana Laufenberg is a high school teacher at Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy (SLA), a public magnet school that emphasizes project-based learning, research and inquiry. She recently gave a talk at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference, a forum that includes big thinkers in all areas of knowledge production, and agreed to elaborate on her ideas about learning and education with Study.com.

Essential Mac Apps for Students

Students: Have a Mac, iPhone or iPad? Don't miss these essential apps for homework, organization, note taking, communication, budgeting and even avoiding procrastination.

For Love or Money? Insight on What Motivates Students' College Choices

Students have a lot to consider when it comes to college. From choosing what school to attend to identifying the right academic program, there are a wide variety of decisions to make. In a difficult economy, most students are weighing financial factors heavily as they make choices.

Forget About School: 10 Ways to Access Education without Going to College

Whether you already have a degree or just don't need one, college isn't for everyone - but learning is. From your public library to the Internet Archive, you can find free educational video, audio and course materials almost anywhere you look. Check out this list of 10 of our favorite ways to access education without stepping foot inside a classroom.

Great Teachers from History

Do you remember your favorite teacher? It might be one who inspired you to pursue your career or maybe one who encouraged you to keep trying when you were struggling. History is full of these teachers, people who have worked with one student or many thousands. Keep reading to learn more about a small handful of history's greatest teachers.

High School Courses May Be Lacking in Rigor

Reports show that high school students are taking more advanced courses, but some fear the course content is not as challenging as the name suggests. Could this hurt students as they start their college studies?

High School Teacher, Role Model and Youth Advocate: Study.com Speaks with Anthony Curtis

Anthony Curtis is a high school lit teacher and one of the 2010 recipients of Illinois' Golden Apple Awards. Study.com recently caught up with Anthony to learn what inspires him and how he's become a force for positive change among his students.

High-Achieving Rural Students Less Likely to Select Top-Ranked Colleges

In another major study presented at the 2010 AERA meeting, Matthew A. Holsapple and Julie Posselt explore geographic differences in school choice. They find that students in rural areas rely on different factors than urban or suburban students when selecting a college or university, which has led to regional stratification across institutions of higher education.

How Much Should SAT and ACT Tests Count in Admissions Decisions?

Taking standardized college entrance tests like the SAT and ACT are major milestones for many high school students. Good performance on these exams has long been considered important toward college admissions. But some schools are starting to de-emphasize this part of a student's application.

How To Avoid Common Writing Mistakes

Even in this day and age, good writing should never be put off. Learn how to place your participles and tame those dangling prepositions in part III of Study.com's series on common grammatical mistakes.

How to Talk About Your Decision to Forgo Higher Education

In many families, it is assumed that all children will attend college. Some people end up attending college more because they think it's what they should do, rather than because it's what they want to do. For high school students who are expected to attend college, but ultimately decide not to, the conversation about why and how they reached this decision can be difficult to approach.

How To Tell If You're Ready for College

Now that you've graduated high school, you probably feel a huge sense of relief. But don't get too comfortable. There are still things you need to do to make sure you're ready to start college.

How Valuable Are High School Rankings?

Most everyone is familiar with annual college rankings and why they're published, but fewer might know that high schools across the country are also ranked. But do these rankings have value? Study.com's Education Insider takes a closer look at high school rankings and what they mean.

Independent College Counselors: Can They Get You Into Top Schools?

College admissions are becoming more and more competitive. As a result, many students are searching for any way to gain an edge in the application process, including independent college counselors. Find out more about the services that these professionals provide.

Is College the Real World?

The stereotypical college experience is usually depicted as an extended adolescence, complete with social and financial irresponsibility, misconceptions about life and a freedom from real responsibility. While it's certainly possible to squander one's postsecondary education in this way, there are plenty of students who avoid these foibles and conduct themselves responsibly. Is it really fair to say that college isn't the real world?

Job-ward Bound: Career Alternatives to College

The current economy is forcing a lot of new high school graduates to think seriously about what they want for their future. Many students will choose to enroll in college immediately after graduating, but that option may not be right for everyone. Here are some ways that high school graduates can enter the job market without getting a bachelor's degree.

Like Learning in the Classroom? Some Students Don't Have a Choice

A new educational mandate for the state of Florida began with 2011's freshmen class. Going forward, all high school students will be required to complete at least one completely virtual learning experience. The Education Insider takes a look at what this means for Florida schools, students and parents.

Make the Right Choice: Tips for Selecting a College Major

A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that more than a third of today's workers wish they'd chosen a different college major. Don't end up with the same regrets! Check out these tips for finding the right college major.

Make Your Writing Shine: Tips for Perfect Usage

Who takes grammar errors lying down? Not you! Study.com is here to help you make fewer writing gaffes in part II of our series on common writing mistakes: Word usage.

Many States Award Merit Aid to Students Who are Under-Prepared for College

In a paper presented at the annual meeting of the AERA, Angela D. Bell and Robert E. Anderson offer evidence that many states are failing to promote adequate standards for college-readiness. By setting the standards for merit-based financial aid lower than typical college admissions requirements, states send the wrong signals about what it takes to be prepared for a postsecondary education.

Music and the Brain: Listening to Music Could Help You Learn

Next time your dormie tells you to turn the music down, just reply 'it's helping me learn!' A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that listening to music can help the brain focus and organize information.

New AP Tests for the New Millennium

Over the past decade, significant advances in knowledge have left AP students feeling the strain of endless memorization and test-cramming. In response, the College Board has laid out new curricula for many AP courses that emphasizes critical thinking and gives both students and teachers more freedom in the classroom.

No More Homework: The End of School Break Assignments

School breaks are historically a time for students to rest and recharge. However, professors have increasingly used breaks as an opportunity to assign extra homework, particularly at elite colleges and universities. At Cornell University in upstate New York, some faculty members are looking to change that trend.

Not Sure if College is Right For You? Try Apprenticeship.

Because statistics show that college degrees can lead to better-paying jobs and greater life satisfaction, there's enormous pressure across America for young students to go to college. But the classroom isn't for everyone, and many people are turning to an alternative in job training: apprenticeship.

NYC Has More High School Graduates, But Are They Ready for the Next Step?

New York City has recently boasted more high school graduates than in previous years. However, many do not seem to be sufficiently prepared for their next scholastic or professional step. Study.com's Education Insider takes a look at this pressing issue that is affecting today's NYC public school students.

Online Academic Journals Available to Everyone...Not Just College Students

College students aren't the only people with access to academic journals. There are plenty of open-access journals online that are freely available to everyone. Here is a selection of art, design, literary, law, business, science and medicine journals that can be viewed online.

Online Courses in Some Kansas High Schools to Target Potential Drop-Outs

In March 2011 America's Promise Alliance, a foundation dedicated to improving the lives of children, reported at a Washington, DC summit that one out of every four public school students will drop out before graduating high school. This sobering statistic leaves school districts across the country wondering what they can do to keep students in attendance. One such district in Lawrence, Kansas believes it may have found a solution.

Part-Time Jobs Don't Hurt College Admissions

Extracurricular activities have long been considered a necessity for admissions to top colleges and universities. But not all students have the privilege of spending their free time on volunteer work and sports. According to admissions professionals, students who have to work after school might not be missing out due to their lack of traditional extracurricular activity.

Peer Pressure Finds Students at Home, Through the Computer

Peer pressure is a simple fact of adolescent life; it's likely that most teenagers are impacted by it in one way or another throughout middle and high school. But can the effects of peer pressure be as far-reaching as the Internet? With the development of Facebook and other social media sites, many say yes. Education Insider takes a look at some disturbing statistics and examines just how much teens can be influenced by their peers even when they're logged on to their computers at home.

Preparing Students For College

The last decade has seen a shift in the focus of America's high schools from just getting students to graduate to proactively preparing students for college. However, a recently released study by the Center for American Progress and College Summit indicates that schools need access to much better data to be effective in their 21st century mission.

Private High Schools: Fact and Fiction

American private high schools are often the subject of books, television shows and movies. Fictional depictions of private school life frequently focus on wealthy, socially cutthroat students. In reality, private school life isn't necessarily all limos and backstabbing, and the perks of attending can be beneficial. But there are some perils to attending private schools, and some new students may not realize how easy it can be for their enrollment to be terminated.

Read the Classics: What Classic Books Can Teach You About Life

In case you didn't know, October is National Book Month. You can show your support for great literature by reading a book of your choice. You might even check out one of the classics. But, you might ask, how relevant are yesterday's masterpieces to life today? Plenty!

Reading Rainbow: What Are Young Adults Reading Today?

From Harry Potter to The Clique and Twilight to The Hunger Games, young adult fiction seems to consistently produce new hit book series. Many publishing and library insiders suggest that never before has YA lit been so well established and diverse. But are all of these books appropriate for teens?

Rural Students Take Fridays Off

In some rural areas, cuts in budgets have led to cuts in school days. Some districts in South Dakota have recently joined a growing list in that and other states that have reduced the regular school week to four days. Some parents fear that less time spent in school could be detrimental to learning. But is it?

Schools Struggle to Implement Key Reforms

The Center on Education Policy this week released a report tracking the status of those state-level education reforms tied to new federal funding. Although the money has just begun to trickle down to the district level, this survey found schools already struggling with the reforms required by these funding programs.

Second Study Shows Charter Schools Outperforming Traditional Public Schools in New York City

Stanford University's CREDO research group recently released a follow-up to their seminal 2009 study on charter school performance. The second study focuses only on New York schools, and this time the results were clear: students in charter schools are significantly outperforming students in New York's traditional public schools.

Should High School Students Take College Courses?

Each year many high school students take on the challenge of enrolling in local college courses. Although there are benefits to doing this, it can also hurt students who aren't properly prepared.

Stressed Out? 10 Low-Tech Ways to Chill Out

Everyone has those days. Your email inbox is stuffed with high-priority messages about school assignments and work responsibilities. Your phone is blowing up with texts, calls and alerts reminding you of things you have to do. You need some stress relief... of the low-tech variety. Check out these tips.

Ten Reasons to Pursue the Liberal Arts

College students are increasingly encouraged to pursue majors which lead directly to great jobs post-graduation. Though the line may not be as well-drawn for majors in the liberal arts, there is still great value in a broad-based liberal arts education. Read on to learn how studying humanities and the liberal arts can enrich your life - and your career.

Ten Ways to Boost Your GPA

If your grades are less than stellar, you might be thinking about taking steps to improve them. Doing better in school is often a simple matter of adopting better habits. These common sense tips can get you moving toward a higher GPA.

The College Search: Fall Tips for High School Seniors

It's fall: Time to go back to school, watch some football, eat pumpkin pie and, for high school seniors across the country, apply to colleges. Don't miss these important tips for staying on track in the college admissions process.

The Compass Test: What You Need to Know

The COMPASS test is actually a series of computerized tests which were written by ACT, Inc. It is administered by a number of colleges and universities and is used to determine course placement. Find out everything you need to know about the COMPASS test here.

The Uncertain Fate of School Librarians

Stuck in the muck of hard economic times, states and local public school administrators across the country are trying to cautiously deflate the financial deficit balloon before it bursts. Consequently, many are forced to consider their expenditures, including the role of the school media specialist. Study.com's Education Insider takes a look at the uncertain fate of school librarians.

This is Your Brain on Math

Is it possible that humans have an innate understanding of mathematics? This question has long been debated among academics. Recent research from Paris Descartes University seems to suggest that knowledge of at least some math concepts may be hard-wired into the human brain.

Top Ten Reasons Why Learning a Foreign Language Can Help You Succeed

Due to significant budgetary shortfalls, more and more universities are announcing plans to cut foreign language departments. In response to this alarming trend, Study.com is here to remind students and professionals why learning a foreign can help you succeed.

Tracking Student Data Gains Traction at State Level

Previous federal efforts at promoting student data tracking were largely unsuccessful. However, the Obama administration's recent push for state-level tracking system implementation has seen a lot of progress, in spite of resistance from some institutions.

Turning 'What I Did Last Summer' Into a College Essay

College application essays can be an important component of a student's overall application package. This can lend a nerve-wracking quality to writing the essay, and students might approach the task with dread. But treating the essay as a way to tell stories about one's own experiences is one way to make the exercise both effective and enjoyable.

UNCF Black History Month Essay Competition

UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation's largest minority higher education assistance organization, administers more than 400 scholarship and internship programs. Throughout their 65-year history, the organization has raised enough money to help more than 350,000 students attend college. The UNCF's latest scholarship contest supports Black History Month and celebrates the achievements of African American students.

Using Computers to Study Disease: Study.com Speaks With a Siemens Prize Winner

Andrew Liu, a senior at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, was a regional finalist and national semifinalist in the 2010 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Liu received these awards for his work in bioinformatics, using computer programming to better understand complications that arise after organ transplants.

Vonnegut Library Donates Banned Book to Missouri High School Students

Do schools have the right to yank books from reading lists and libraries simply because they don't like the content? Though the U.S. Constitution says no, some schools still take part in the practice. In the most recent episode, a Missouri high school voted to ban a classic novel because of its adult themes and profane content. But the book may soon find its way into the students' hands anyway, thanks to the efforts of a library with more than a passing interest in the banned title.

Wait Listed? Don't Miss These Tips

As the number of college applications have increased nationwide, so have the number of students getting wait listed. If you find yourself on a waiting list, here are a few things you can do (and not do) to improve your chances.

What Colleges Know About You Before You Apply

Microsites, small, interactive websites, are proving to be popular with colleges and universities that want to recruit new students or touch base with long-lost alumni. Not only do they provide users with a fun and interesting way to interact with a university, they also provide the university with valuable information about the user.

When College Isn't the Right Choice

We've all heard it: a college degree is the key to a successful career. Many students spend a great deal of time, effort and money navigating the college application process, but there are a number of students who simply don't want to continue with school after high school. If you know you don't want to go to college right after high school, read on for some insight on what to do when college isn't for you.

Who's Helping California's Foster and High-Needs Children?

Although almost every child faces difficulties in school, few deal with the unique problems encountered by foster children. That's why California's Family Care Network, Inc. exists. They provide countless services designed to help foster and other high-needs youth make it through the formative years of their lives and into prosperity.

Why You Should Study a Foreign Language

You've probably heard before that studying a foreign language is good for you. It may have even have been required for you to get out of high school. But what, really, is the benefit behind learning a foreign language? Well, it turns out there are a lot of them, and some are pretty surprising!

Your Information Expert: Study.com Speaks With a Public Librarian

In celebration of National Book Month, Study.com is interviewing librarians to find out what's going on with libraries - and books! - these days. Read on to hear from Laura Shea-Clark, Library Services Manager at the Mountain View Public Library in California.