The Phenomenon of Helicopter Parenting

November 13th, 2006 by admin

Some parents are writing their college-age kids’ resumes. Others are acting as their children’s “representatives,” hounding college career counselors, showing up at job fairs and sometimes going as far as calling employers to ask why their son or daughter didn’t get a job.

It’s the next phase in helicopter parenting, a term coined for those who have hovered over their children’s lives from kindergarten to college. Now they are inserting themselves into their kids’ job search — and school officials and employers say it’s a problem that may be hampering some young people’s careers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Number of students taking online courses rises

November 10th, 2006 by admin

Roughly one in six students enrolled in higher education — about 3.2 million people — took at least one online course last fall, a sharp increase defying predictions that online learning growth is leveling off. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can your High-School Relationship Survive Long Distance?

November 8th, 2006 by Jenni Zammit Staff Writer

As Amy Shaunette and Cooper Gango contemplated college, they considered an issue beyond the SAT and GPAs: their love life. The pair started dating as juniors at Lake Oswego High in Oregon. As college loomed, they weren’t sure whether

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A bachelor’s degree equals $23K more a year

October 30th, 2006 by Key Magazine

There are many reasons to go to college to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Among the top reasons is an increase in earning potential. According to a recent government study, the difference is about $23,000.

“College graduates made an average of $51,554 in 2004, the most recent figures available, compared with $28,645 for adults with a high school diploma. High school dropouts earned an average of $19,169 and those with advanced college degrees made an average of $78,093.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Higher education is still the best investment

October 18th, 2006 by Key Magazine

America is known as the land of possibilities. Increasingly, those opportunities are limited to those with higher education. Higher education is the key to realizing your life and career goals.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people with a Bachelor’s degree made an average of $51,206 annually in 2004, while those with high school diplomas made $27,915. Those without even a high school diploma made $18,734.

It goes without saying, then, that a college education can put you in a better financial place than simply earning a high school diploma, or failing to graduate from high school at all. Those struggling to complete high school might find higher education out of reach. But, if traditional education is not your speed, you should consider the many career colleges, technical schools and online degree programs available to help you earn a degree. Read the rest of this entry »

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Technical career training making a comeback

October 2nd, 2006 by Key Magazine

According to a recent article, “high schools are being transformed into career academies or adding smaller vocational schools within their buildings. In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley recently announced an initiative that will let high school students become qualified to work in particular industries. Students would then use their certificates to find high-skill, high-paying jobs.”

Three-quarters of high school technology education programs have disappeared since the early 1980s, according to the California Industrial and Technology Education Association. As a result, the number of high school courses offered has dropped from about 40,000 in the late 1980s to 24,000 in 2005-06, according to state data.

The association cites an aging faculty, few reinforcements and competition for financial and space resources as well as pressure for college-prep courses as reasons why. Read the rest of this entry »

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Private: Steps you can take to plan for college early

September 1st, 2006 by Key Magazine

By Andy Schiller
Guest Columnist
When should I start planning for college?
As the saying goes, ‘why put it off if it can easily be done today?’ The earlier you plan, the more opportunities you will have to increase your competitive edge in college admissions and the easier it will be to get into the school you’re hoping to attend.

What are the steps in planning for college?
Here is a list of things you can do to prepare for school, with tasks spread out over the course of your senior year. In addition to meeting admissions and application requirements, it is very important that you keep track of the various requirements and deadlines related to your orientation at school.

- Find an interested staff member at school who will help you with the college process.
- Request letters of recommendation from teachers and administrators. Don’t be shy; they understand that it’s part of their commitment to your education.
- Take leadership positions in the clubs and organizations you are passionate about.
- Offer to take leadership positions in jobs, even if it’s something unglamorous like food service.
- Attend informational college events at school.
- Research scholarships and financial options, such as this one (link out).
- Register for ACT and SAT tests.
- Finalize your first, second and third choices for college. A good overall number to apply to is four to six campuses.
- Obtain and submit college applications. Read the rest of this entry »

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10 tips for applying to college

August 28th, 2006 by Key Magazine

Time magazine recently ran a cover story feature on the challenges of applying to college. While most media coverage of the college application process focuses on the ultra competitiveness of the ritual, Time focused on the liberation of college choice.

With so many great colleges and universities to choose from, finding the best fit is an individual choice that should focus on what a student wants out of the college experience as opposed to the weight the school name carries. In essence, Nancy Gibbs and Nathan Thornburgh, authors of “Who Needs Harvard?” encourage high school students to look beyond the name to the actual benefits the school has to offer.

In addition to providing a much needed wake up call to parents of high school students, high school guidance counselors and high school juniors and seniors, the pair provides some tips for approaching the college search process. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wisdom for Swiping Plastic

August 10th, 2006 by Key Magazine

Killer credit: wisdom for swiping plastic

For a material, plastic has gotten a lot of hype in the last decade. It’s recyclable, perfect for bottling Gatorade and making front fenders on Hondas. But seldom has plastic – in the form of credit cards, anyway – gotten a good rap.

The truth is, the cards themselves are not as much to blame for out-of-control debt as new cardholders failing to understand the concept of credit. Most college-bound high school students find themselves trudging through mountains of credit card offers, many of which can be tempting. But before getting all plastic-swiping crazy, it’s important to understand how credit cards work and when – or when not – to swipe.

Understanding credit

The good news is, there are some good uses of credit cards:

  • Responsible use of a credit card will help you establish a solid credit history.
  • Credit cards can be used when you don’t have enough cash in your pocket or money in your checking account to cover unexpected expenses, such as fixing your car.
  • You can keep track of your spending via the monthly paper statement or by viewing your bill through other banking services such as online banking.
  • If you absolutely must use a credit card for a large ticket item, many credit cards offer benefits such as purchase protection against theft or damage and an extended warranty period.

How credit works

Credit card use contributes to a credit rating that, in essence, shows how dependable a borrower is at paying money back. A credit report is generated by anyone who may potentially loan you money or expect you to pay bills, such as a car dealer or landlord. The report shows every credit card in your name, along with late payments.

Good reports encourage lenders to offer loans or lower interest rates in the future. Bad reports can lead to high interest rates and, to put it bluntly, rejection.

"It’s easy to get in the habit of using a credit card for every purchase," said Diana Fergus, credit card product manager and Vice President of KeyBank in Cleveland, Ohio. "Frivolous spending will run up the outstanding balance very quickly and ultimately you are responsible for these charges. Students must decide if the short-term enjoyment of impulse purchases is worth making the eventual credit card payments, quite possibly over a long period of time."

Fergus said a credit card should be used to cover the cost of unexpected, expensive emergencies such as a chipped tooth or a flat tire. Impulse items, on the other hand, can cost you big time.

"Students need to focus on the future," she said. "Using credit cards responsibly will help their finances and build money management skills after graduation."

For more information on credit cards and the best student-approved cards, check out:

Good Uses:

  • Tuition
  • Textbooks and other supplies
  • Automotive maintenance
  • Computer problems
  • Medical/dental emergencies

Bad Uses:

  • Buying pizzas for the entire dorm
  • Concert tickets
  • New wardrobe
  • High-tech gadgets (iPod or DVD players)

Important credit card terms

Annual percentage rate (APR): The one-year rate that is charged for borrowing. For example, a credit card company might charge 1 percent a month, but the APR is 1 percent x 12 months = 12 percent.

Balance transfer: Moving all or part of a credit card balance from one card to another. Some cards allow 0 percent interest for the first balance transfer, which means you can transfer the card balance without paying a dime.

Credit limit: The maximum amount of purchases that can be made on a credit card. If this limit is exceeded, penalty fees are charged and the credit rating is lowered.

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FEATURED GAME REVIEW: X-Men the Official Game

August 10th, 2006 by Key Magazine

2-8.jpg Rating: 2 out 5 Snickts
Manufacturer: Activision
Game System: Playstation 2

If this were an X-Men comic book and not a video game, I’d probably read it once and stick it under the bed to gather dust. The main problem with this one is not so much in the story but the game play and stage design. In terms of the story, the game developers made a great decision in not having the game follow the third movie, (which was released soon after the game) but build up to it. The story arcs the mutants against the Brotherhood of Mutants and the leftover remains of Stryker’s army. Also, the locales switch to include some of Wolverine’s past and a good variety of characters from the X-men universe.

However, with a large cast of characters, it is hard to figure out why only three of the mutants are available to play. Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Iceman are the only team members you can pick from and rather than being to pick of them freely, they are dictated based on the mission. Another big part of the let down is that you are paired at different times with mutants like Colossus and Storm, yet they are wasted, weak and not very helpful at all.

Along with those issues, the stage designs look pretty good overall, but are quite basic and uninteresting. There is a ton of repetitiveness in the levels and, for the most part, there is no real strategy to winning. You just push the buttons as fast as you can and beat the enemies before your life goes out.

Overall, the game has some pretty solid potential. Like I said, the story is quite good. It just has a “rushed” feeling to it that makes it feel incomplete. The graphics and sound are actually excellent with most of the film cast lending their voices. It is just hard to believe that this came from Activision.

For a better time, check out one of the other X-Men games out right now. In terms of this one, better luck next time.

RECOMMENDED: Big Brain Academy
Rating: Four Brains
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Game System: Nintendo DS

Description: All the parents out there can stop screaming about how video games are not educational; Big Brain Academy breaks all of those rules. This game is like having a small pop quiz in your pocket. You’ll gain the ability to increase you memory, critical thinking and problem solving skills in order to analyze each problem.

Playability: The controls are simple. The interactive touch screen “brain busters” will get your gears turning to perfect your test skills. Touch the stylus to the screen and pick your answer or draw lines to direct the interactive quiz’s to get the correct answer.

Challenge: Many of the questions will try and throw you a curve ball, but once you get used to the game’s thought process, you will be tearing through the questions and burning the timer while increasing brain capacity.

Graphics/Sound: Graphics don’t come any simpler than this. They are colorful which makes this game driven by its questions which will bust your brain.

Replay: You never get tired of feeling smart, which is why the replay value of this game is extremely high. You might actually feel yourself getting smarter. I did!

CLASSIC GAME REVIEW: Super Mario Brothers
Rating: Four mushrooms
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Game System: Nintendo Entertain System (NES)

Description: Back in the mid-1980s, this game came with every Nintendo system sold in North America. As the remarkably agile (especially for plumbers) Mario or Luigi, you stomp, throw fire, and warp your way through nine separate worlds to rescue the princess from the evil dragon, Koopa.

Playability: Game play doesn’t get much smoother than this. This side-scrolling classic offers a nice break from the super realistic games of today.

Challenge: The difficulty increases just enough with each level to make it fun, but so does your desire to see what obstacles faces you at the end of each level.

Graphics/Sound: The throwback look and feel was a nostalgic rush that made we want to bust out my other classic teenage titles that I still remember the ins and outs. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, start anyone? And, admit it: 8-bit music rocks!

Replay: For some reason, this game might have the highest level of replay value in the history of video games. Maybe it’s the catchy Mario soundtrack or the rush you get from hurdling over the dragon to rescue the princess. Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure: If you do get tired of playing Super Mario, someday you’ll be overcome with the urge to play it again.

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