How to Edit an Essay: A Step-By-Step Guide to Perfecting Your Paper 1

If writing is an art, editing is a science.


The moment you finish composing your essay comes the time to begin the process of perfecting it. Carrying out proper edits and revisions is the final step to creating a great paper. Good editing, like writing, is a skill, which must be perfected over time. Even the works of the most prominent writers require skillful editing.

So, how do you actually go about editing your paper to avoid essay pitfalls? How do you determine what changes you should make? This step-by-step guide will show you how to eliminate errors and perfect your writing.



  1. Step away

It can be tempting to complete your work within minutes. Avoid your urge to get everything done in one go. Instead, take a break when you complete your writing. Spend time doing something unrelated so that you can return to your paper with a fresh eye.

  1. Do the easy part first

Check the formatting guidelines and use an editing software to ensure that you followed general guidelines and formatting requirements. Simple punctuation mistakes and fixable formatting errors will seem careless and unprofessional to your reader.

  1. Keep things clear

A good piece of writing has a clear structure, coherent and obvious transitions between sentences and paragraphs. For example, a standard format would be:

  • A gripping, exciting first paragraph. This is your chance to gain the attention and goodwill of your readers. This is a time to bring up interesting details and tell your readers what point you’re going to make.
  • Your thesis statement declares the purpose of your writing and must appear early in your essay. It is commonly written as the first sentence of the second paragraph.
  • A well-structured body. The body of your writing should cover all of the relevant points that you wish to discuss. Be sure that your piece is written with the clear goal of proving your thesis correct.
  • A strong conclusion. Your conclusion should restate the strongest points that you covered in the body of the document. If the reader is expected to take further action, this is the place to advise them of that.
  1. Say what you mean

Review the writing to ensure that your language is both clear and precise. Your goal is to concisely convey the relevant information. Use words that create clear, short sentences. Avoid loose language and meaningless fragments. Eliminate all jargon and colloquialisms. Little known terms and clichés must also be removed. It can be tempting to include industry specific phrases and notions in order to make a piece of writing sound more thoroughly researched an authoritative. Be careful with it! The machinations required to fit these things into your writing will stand out to your readers as forced and unnatural.

  1. Let it go

One of the biggest mistakes young writers make is falling in love with their phrasing and word choices. Don’t structure whole paragraphs in the interest of one sentence. Don’t rewrite pages because you’re attached to a turn of a phrase. Be ruthless in your editing and eliminate anything that does not make your paper more readable.

Timothy Davis, an essay expert and tutor at Best Essays shared his thoughts, “Students tend to write long-winded paragraphs that tell rather than show. This can result in essays that are long, but seemingly pointless. I like to encourage students to eliminate every word that does not make their argument.”

  1. Get your facts straight

Double check any facts or figures that your present in your paper. Don’t just make sure the numbers are accurate. Ensure that the numbers you’ve referenced are sourced from the document you mentioned. Ensure quotes are correct, sources are cited, and relevant images are properly noted.

  1. Once is enough

You wrote a stellar introduction that has your readers excited and engaged. They have a solid understanding of your thesis and a vested interest in how you will prove it. Your reader is paying attention, so you only need to say things once. Repetition is a complex literary device. The shorter your piece, the harder it is to use this tactic correctly. Better to play it safe and avoid irritating your reader with repeated call backs and overused phrases.

  1. Be an authority

Professional writers maintain active voice in order to write clear projects that are pleasant to read. Use these two simple tips to write in active voice:

  • Structure your sentences so that the subjects of your sentences take action. For example, write “I put the notebook on the table.” instead of “The notebook was put on the table.”
  • Avoid too many chances of the verb “to be.” Variations can include has been, will be, had been Find ways to paraphrase your sentences. The statement “What he said today is an obvious contradiction to what he said yesterday.” you can exchange with “What he said today contradicts to what he said yesterday.”
  1. Keep it simple

This is not the time to experiment with sentence structure or grammar theory. When producing a piece for an academic audience, it’s best to use the simplest punctuation possible. Rather than proving intelligence, or composing a sentence with an attractive flow, students should aim for standardization and simplicity in both form and structure.

  1. Check it again

When the content is perfect, proofread your document a few times and check for spelling and grammar errors. Try reading your piece backwards for a fresh perspective.

  1. Share for feedback

Share your writing with a friend or your knowledgeable family member to find areas in need of improvement. They can provide valuable insight about the clarity of your writing and spot some issues you may have overlooked.

Review this list every time you finish writing a paper, and you will quickly find that editing according to these rules becomes second nature. After a while, you’ll find that you write your pieces with a much clearer concept of what your final product should sound like. Learning to edit your pieces well will make you a much better writer.

Sophia Anderson is an associate educator and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on learning, writing, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development. Talk to her on Facebook or LinkedIn.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Top 10 Summer Reads for the College-Bound Reply

The last summer before a college is always fun. But, at the same time, it is a very responsible stage for every student as it requires some decent college preparation and self-education.

As a rule, during the summer before their freshman year, college bound students are getting everything ready for the next stage of their life, moving out from their homes, and try to improve their knowledge before the start of the semester. Thus, such transition from school to college can be a bit challenging.

How To Cope With The Difficulties?

The easiest and probably most pleasant way to get ready for your freshman year is to read a few good inspirational books. In this article, we have gathered the top ten best books that will help you get ready for the first semester and survive your freshman year without problems!

How will these books help you? After reading these outstanding masterpieces recommended by us, you will learn how to:

  • Become more organized and manage your time efficiently;
  • Understand people, communicate, and make new friends thoughtfully;
  • Organize your budget and use it wisely;
  • Set goals, reach them, and succeed.

What Are The Good Books To Read Before College?

  • Eat that Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time written by Brian Tracy

This book is quite popular not only among the college bounds but for elder people as well because it actually gives you lots of useful information and tips. This bestseller can teach you to make your workflows more productive. We all understand that the first year in college will be full of difficulties and thus, it is important to learn about the practical steps, described here, to get your tasks done faster.

  • The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke written by Suze Orman

Does the term «financially smart» still sound like fiction to you? Then this piece is a perfect choice for you! On its pages, you can learn about the practical tips to manage all of your expenses in a wiser and most efficient way to become more mature and financially responsible.

  • The Freshman Survival Guide: Soulful Advice for Studying, Socializing, and Everything In Between written by Nora Bradbury-Haehl & Bill McGarvey

Are you nervous about your first year at a new place? This book is your guide to setting social relationships, studying, and other activities. After reading it, you will be able to avoid conflicts and overcome the possible issues and critical situations in the new environment.

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything written by Bill Bryson

This is a must-read! The author’s style of delivering the information is clear and fun. Besides, it gives a good knowledge base on some of the most important moments in the science and history that will come in handy for each student.

  • Brave New World written by Aldous Huxley

The novel shows the possible future of our society and world, and it will be not only useful but also quite interesting to read. It reflects some interesting ideas about the modern world.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee

This book is classic but not that it is good to read it together with another piece of writing created by this author – Go Set a Watchman. Both of them will once come up in the course of obtaining an education and thus, reading them now means that you will be ready for the discussion.

  • The Elements of Style written by Strunk and White

This is a writing guide. Some may wonder how it can be helpful. However, there is no way to avoid paper writing in college because numerous written works make the biggest part of your grades for each semester and that is why it is a good start for gaining the necessary skills.

  • I Am Malala written by Malala Yousafzai

A few years ago we all were astonished by the story of this brave girl who has become a real hero for many girls all over the world and reading her story in details will not hurt!

  • Americans’ Favorite Poems written

Not many like poetry. Unfortunately, many young people don’t appreciate the art of poetry, but this collection of the greatest poems will give you some awesome ideas for essays, help to have some fun while reading, and even contribute to improving your vocabulary!

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks written by Rebecca Skloot

The story of a great and devoted scientist is the last point in our list, but it is certainly worth spending a few days reading it! This book tells us a story of a beautiful woman. Don’t miss a chance to find out how the dedication and sacrifice of one person had helped to reach such significant for the whole humanity discoveries!

Walter Hurley is a blogger and freelance writer for He adores writing helpful tips for students. He writes about different topics in such spheres as e-learning, content marketing, blogging, self-development and freelance.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Money Saving Tips for University First-Timers Reply

Starting university is a significant change in life and it affects your lifestyle and your whole personality. It brings many challenges, both academic and personal, which will require you to make tough choices, adjust to various conditions, face injustice and all that pretty much on your own, which will eventually result in making you a mature and independent grown-up. Therefore, that path is filled with moments of both despair and great happiness.

Your finances are one of the aspects of your life that will be affected. Not only will the whole dynamic of spending money change once you start uni, but also the things you spend money on. This is the time when you’ll realize that food doesn’t magically appear on the table, milk and juice do not regenerate in your fridge and if you don’t remember to buy shampoo or soap, nobody else will. The trick is to know how you spend money and to become aware of your budget and your expenses. You should learn to prioritize, so you should always know what you absolutely need and what you can survive without for another week or month. All this will be overwhelming, but here’s how you can start adjusting.

Buy essentials first

As soon as you receive your allowance, make sure to cover all your basic needs. Those may include rent, food, toilet paper, your monthly subscription for the gym, library, etc. Set aside all the money you need to spend on these necessities and leave it on the side. It’s not easy to provide food for the whole month, but make sure to buy canned food, pate, noodles and similar supplies that don’t expire quickly so you can have something to eat when you run out of money.

Set up a budget

Creating a spending plan sounds like a great idea. However, it’s really difficult and even the most realistic and experienced people find it impossible to make an accurate plan since unexpected expenses often arise. If one month is difficult to plan, divide your whole budget into four equal parts and have a weekly budget. It will be much easier for you to manipulate it this way.

Plan your shopping

After you’ve decided on what essentials you need to buy, you probably won’t be able to buy them all at once. If you cannot trust yourself not to spend the money you should leave reserved, try buying a gift card. For example, you can buy a practical Visa gift card for a bookstore and buy your books and office supplies when you need them. Also, try to avoid sudden visits to 24/7 shops. They are much more expensive, but if you suddenly get hungry at 3 am, you won’t have any other choice but to pay a higher price. This is why it’s important to do your monthly or weekly shopping in supermarkets where there are discounts and prices are generally lower.

Avoid unnecessary expenses

Your friends will often invite you for coffee breaks at uni. Also, classes stretch throughout the day and students usually feel sleep deprived due to obligations and especially during exams. This is when you turn to buying endless coffees and energy drinks. Not only that this is unhealthy, but it’s also expensive, especially when you calculate the amount of money you spend on these each month.

Save for a rainy day

This part is particularly difficult, but try to create a stack where you’ll hide money from yourself. Set aside a certain amount of cash each month and put it in your piggy-bank. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it’s good to know you have some money lying around in case of any sudden expenses. For example, you’ll need to buy a book or copy somebody’s notes, pay for some documents etc.

Make deals with friends

You should also have a good friend that is in a similar situation as you, preferably someone who is also a student. In case you need some extra cash, you can always turn to this friend of yours who will understand and won’t hold it against you. It’s great to have someone who is ready to jump in and lend you some cash or treat you to a coffee or lunch. However, this agreement should bring benefits to both parties, only at different times.

There are many ways to save money. However, don’t set your expectations too high when trying to get your financial life in order. It won’t be easy, especially since you’re new in this area. Not everything has to be perfect. For starters, try to survive a few months without remaining penniless. That will be a major success. Later on, try to be better every day and you’ll see some progress in the future.

Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focus is digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog and a mother of two.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.


College on the Web: Comparing the Pros and Cons of Online School Reply

Internet technologies have changed education. Via online classrooms, students can study anywhere, anytime. However, online classes and degrees also have drawbacks. If you’re thinking about taking an online degree, it’s best to look at the pros and cons before you do.

Pro: It’s Convenient

One of the big pluses of online education is convenience. You don’t have to commute further than your home office to “attend” class. You log onto class when it’s convenient for you, even if it’s the middle of the night. Many online classes are asynchronous so you don’t have to study at a specific time. For those classes that aren’t, you can use free technologies like Skype and Google Hangouts to meet up with professors and peers.

Pro: Access Majors That Your Home University Doesn’t Offer

It used to be that you had to move out of your house, and sometimes out of your hometown, to study certain majors. While it’s an exciting prospect to study in a different city, that option isn’t always available to people, especially non-traditional students who have families and jobs.

Kristy English of Portland State University expressed how critical an online degree was for her. She looked at a few schools before deciding on Portland State. She felt that her criminal justice degree would help her to help her community. Fortunately, she didn’t need to leave her community or her job since she could study criminology online.

Con: It Can be Hard to Find Quiet Time

Students who need sequestered places to study might find the online environment challenging. Students at traditional universities can go to the library or the study in the quiet of the lounge. Online students often have to work around family, pets, and co-workers to get their work done. This makes it hard to concentrate at times.

Con: An Online Degree Requires Self-Discipline

If you have trouble getting to class at a traditional university, it’ll probably be more challenging when you’re getting an online degree. Classes on campus force you to focus and to set aside specific times for work. Students who lack that kind of self-discipline may falter in an online class. It’s easy to forget about class when you don’t have a set schedule to follow.

Final Thoughts on Online Degrees

Online degree programs have opened up educational opportunities for all sorts of students. They allow people to study when it’s convenient for them. However, they also require a great deal of discipline and don’t offer the quiet spaces a traditional university does. If you’re looking at some online degrees, be sure to be honest about how well you’ll do with the cons as well as the pros before deciding on a program.

About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.


Top 6 Weird Scholarships for College Students Reply

By Tamiera Vandegrift, Uloop

With the price of college tuition rising exponentially every year, the fight for scholarships and other forms of financial aid has become more and more desperate as time goes on.

With the competition for scholarships becoming more and more competitive, it is easy for college students to become discouraged. After all, scholarships are only awarded to students with 5.0 GPAs, leadership positions in every student organization, and a working model of how to cure every form of human disease known to man, right? Wrong.

All types of scholarships exist for all types of students in all walks of life. With that being said, there are some wacky, quirky, and offbeat scholarships out there — yours for the taking! Typical scholarships look for grades, student involvement, community service, or research experience, but the scholarships on this list are more so based on character and originality, as they should be!

So what are you waiting for? Read on to learn more about the top six strangest scholarships for college students.

  1. Tall Clubs International Student Scholarships

Tall people rejoice! There is a scholarship just for you. You are also the subject of my envy because I stand at a laughable 5-foot-2.

Tall Clubs International Foundation is an organization founded by Kae Sumner Einfeldt, who had a dream of creating an organization that would cater to the needs of the extraordinarily tall. The focus of this organization is to provide financial help to students who fit the requirements. To be eligible, you must be a 5-foot-10 tall woman or a 6-foot-2 man under the age of 21 entering your first year of collegiate education.

Apply here

  1. American Association of Candy Technologists’ John Kitt Memorial Scholarship

Do you have a heck of a sweet tooth? Don’t worry, I will not tell your dentist. The American Association of Candy Technologists has a scholarship for you. If you are studying anything related to food science, chemical science, or biological science and have tangibly demonstrated interest in confectionery technology, you are in the right place!

To be eligible, you must be a college sophomore, junior, or senior; you must have at least a 3.0 grade point average; you must be attending a four-year college or university in North America.

Apply here

  1. Fifth Month Scholarship

“One is the loneliest number. Three is a crowd. Then there is five. What’s so special about five?” asks Unigo Scholarships.

To apply for this scholarship, you will have to find an answer. In a personal letter of 250 words or less, write to the number five and explain why it is an important number. All that you need to be eligible is to be above the age of 13 and enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education. High five!

Apply here

  1. Flavor of the Month Scholarship

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream … and free money! That’s right. By telling Unigo about which flavor of ice cream you feel describes your personality the best, you will have a chance at being awarded a pretty sweet $1,500 scholarship toward your education.

In order to be eligible, you must be 13 or older and must be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education.

Apply here

  1. Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship

Does AMC’s The Walking Dead have you putting together a survival plan for the zombie apocalypse? Well, now you can put that plan to fruition! Unigo asks you to imagine that your school has been overrun by the walking dead. What would you do? Where would you hide? What items would you bring with you in order to survive?

Get down with the sickness and apply! To be eligible, you must be 13 or older and must be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education.

Apply here

  1. Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation Scholarship

Are you a trivia fanatic? The Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation is hunting for brainiacs like yourself! Create an account with CKSF and be quizzed upon registration. The quiz scores will be based off of time and accuracy and the students who get by with the highest scores at the end of each competition will win.

Quiz topics can be focused on a variety of subjects, like common knowledge, sciences, mathematics, and even entertainment. This scholarship is open to everyone: high school students, undergraduate students, graduate students, and even parents. There is no GPA requirement, essay, or need to acquire letters of recommendation.

Apply here

Visit for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, scholarships, tutors near campus, jobs for college students, and more.


Studying Law: 4 College Programs for Working in the Legal Field Reply

So you want to work in the legal field. This means you are likely evaluating different careers and education options to find one that suits you. It’s important for potential students to evaluate legal education programs they are considering carefully to ensure the programs are accredited and certified by the proper organizations, such as the American Bar Association, or getting jobs might prove difficult or even impossible. Here are four different types of college programs you can consider if you wish to work in the legal field.

1. Pre-Law Programs

If you know you want to work in the legal field as an undergrad, you can enroll in pre-law programs to best prepare you for law school. Pre-law programs help students develop skills that will be very useful for their law careers, including solid writing, communication, critical thinking and problem solving skills. These programs prepare you for law programs in higher education and teach you the skills needed to be successful in a legal career. You can pair pre-law programs with other degrees to give yourself a more specialized education.

2. Paralegal Studies Programs

If you want to work in law and do many of the same things lawyers do without getting a law degree or having some of the heavy responsibilities of attorneys, consider going to school to be a paralegal. Generally the job prospects for paralegals are greater too, as law offices attempt to cut down on operating costs. You can become a paralegal after completing a program for an associate degree or by completing a certificate program if you have a degree in another field.

3. Juris Doctor Programs

Going to school for a J.D. is what aspiring attorneys must do in order to practice law in the United States. You also need to go through one of these programs to become a judge. For a more specialized education, you can also go on to get an additional master of law degree, which requires an additional year of schooling in most cases and allows law students to specialize in particular areas of law. There are several online masters programs available as well from good law schools in Florida and elsewhere.

4. Doctor of Juridical Science Programs

If you want to teach law, you will also have to enroll in one of these programs. It is the highest education level for the legal field. These programs are heavily research-focused and students generally need to know their research interests before applying for these programs. You will spend most of your time compiling a dissertation.

There are more education options for studying law than many people realize—a juris doctor degree is not your only option. Consider any of the above programs you might be interested in if you want to study law and work in the legal field. There are not only multiple levels of legal education, but also different college programs for other legal careers, like paralegals. You should be able to find something that suits your needs with a little bit of research.

About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Artistic Education: Best 4 Degrees for Creative People Reply

As you plan what to do for higher education, it is important to consider both what you like and what will allow you to make a living. The arts are an integral part of society, and they are a part of everyday life. While art is often not considered to be a high-earning job, you can make the most of your creativity by considering one of these four degrees.

Education Major with an Art Specialty

If you like working with children and want to help them learn about history and techniques in art, consider earning a degree in education with an art specialty. This type of a degree would allow you to work at the elementary, middle or high school level and teach art theory, practice and history. You would be able to be creative and help others to discover their own favorite forms of art.

Digital Media

When you enjoy both technology and creativity, consider a degree in digital media. Degrees in this field, like those available from UC Clermont College, are becoming more popular as many jobs now require skills with online and digital marketing, coding, social media engagement, and other techniques. You will learn how to engage with consumers and create digital media content that will help companies to grow their sales and traffic.


Working with your hands and making something is a satisfying pursuit. Consider a degree in ceramics. This sort of a degree will require you to learn plenty of science, such as how the firing process works and how to mix pigments and glazes. You will learn a variety of pottery techniques, including pouring bisque, making slip, hand-throwing, sculpting, coil building and pinch pottery.

Graphic Design

Graphic design is another great college major for creative people. You will use a combination of computer programs and hand drawing to come up with designs for products, logos, websites and more. Graphic designers might design an album cover for a rock band or a new logo for an annual event. They also design the packaging of products and put together brochures. Your work could be in both digital and printed formats.

Each of these four degrees gives you the chance to work with other professionals. You will also have the opportunity to educate others through your art. In some of these areas of expertise, you might even be able to grow your own business and work for yourself. Consider taking a class in business or finance along with your art education classes.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

9 Productivity Tips That Can Help Students Reply

Some people think that college is just the continuation of high school, but it is not. It’s much more different than high school because it shapes you into the person you want to be.

In college, you’ll gain the knowledge, experience, and skills that will help you adapt to a variety of jobs on the market. Finding a job is never easy, but statistics show that you’ll be able to find a job, keep it, and earn more money while doing it if you finish college.

In order to finish your education, you need to be productive, and that means forgetting about certain old habits and acquiring new ones in order to boost your productivity. Don’t pay attention to what other people are saying because college is not easy. But, with the right mindset, you’ll be able to get your diploma.

Let’s take a look at some tips that’ll help you become a productive member of this society and a good student.

Go to class

Obviously, going to every class in college is always a good idea, and you need to make a habit of getting up early and going to classes. Sometimes drinking coffee with your friends or taking a nap seems like a good idea but in reality, it is not. Wherever you are, you need to get up, pack your books, and go to class. Don’t bring just your body to the classroom, bring your brain and your heart too. You’re going to need them there.

This doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about your friends. Make a schedule that revolves around your classes and stick to it. It will be hard at first, but as time goes by you’ll notice that your life will seem more productive than ever.

Take notes

Going to class is not enough, you need to learn to take notes. Let’s be honest, unless you’re a superhero you probably won’t be able to memorize every little thing your professor said. Make a habit of taking notes and stick to it. Learn note-taking techniques and write down everything quickly because your professor certainly won’t talk slowly.

Learn everything you can

Imagine that your brain is a dry sponge that needs water (knowledge) to survive. Never let that sponge be dry again. A college is a place where you can drown your brain with knowledge, not just in class, but by talking to your professors, friends, and speakers on campus. Learn to ask the right questions and talk with everyone. Eventually, you’ll get hooked on learning new things, and you’ll start asking everyone about everything.

Being shy was maybe OK in high school, but you need to ditch that mindset if you want to drown the sponge with cool, refreshing water.

Focus on hard things

If you have different things to do or learn at the same time, try focusing on hard things first. Just select the most tedious and time-consuming tasks and do them first. By doing this, you’ll avoid procrastination associated with easy projects.

Don’t multitask

Multitasking might seem like a very good idea at first, but you really need to forget about it because it damages your brain and career. When you try doing this, your brain starts switching from one thing to another, and you might end up being confused. Frequent shifts in your brain are not efficient, and they will severely decrease productivity.

Take breaks

When you first start college, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, and you’ll probably try to learn as much as you can in a short period of time. According to an article in the Huffington Post, it is recommended that students take mental breaks approximately every 45 minutes. That’s because the brain is unable to fully focus for a longer period of time without losing steam. Some college students even hire a virtual receptionist when they don’t want to be distracted by phone calls and messages.

Make shorter deadlines

Your professors will tell you when and why something is due, and you’ll write down those dates. Don’t leave those dates on a piece of paper because you’ll probably forget about them. Get a planning app and set the alarm to remind you when every project is due.


Mens sana in corpore sano. That means ‘’a healthy mind in a healthy body’’. Exercise whenever you can. You might think that incorporating exercise into your already busy schedule is impossible, but that’s not the case. It’s actually simple. Run to your classes and keep some small weights near you while you’re studying. In time you’ll start lifting them while studying without even noticing!


Sleepless nights will kill your productivity. Students usually party like there’s no tomorrow, and you shouldn’t be an exception of course. Just make sure to get a good night’s sleep before an exam.

Your college experience will shape you into a person you need to be, and it will set you up for the rest of your life. Party when you can, but be productive and learn everything, because you’ll need that knowledge!

Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focus is digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog and a mother of two.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Classroom Security: 5 Ways Schools Can Improve Safety Reply

Whether you’re an educator, administrator, or otherwise employed by a school, safety is a prime concern. When staff and students are endangered, the quality of education suffers. Parents are also impacted. Here’s what schools can do to be more secure.


1. Tighten building and campus security.

Police can identify vulnerable areas on school property and recommend upgrades. The school complex can be surrounded with fences made of welded wire or tubular steel, topped with spikes. This type of barrier is hard to cut and climb, as opposed to conventional chain link fencing. Also, avoid placing objects near fences that facilitate climbing.

Ensure that school property is well lit. Appoint guards at outside doors, and designate separate doors for entering and exiting buildings. Also, install cameras and intercoms at these locations. Assign a guard to patrol the premises.

Always have adults stationed in hallways, stairwells, bathrooms, and lunchrooms, as an authoritative presence. Keep playgrounds well-supervised, and monitor activity at bus stops.


2. Devise and practice emergency action plans.

Train school staff in using the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS). Should a national disaster occur, the NIMS directs school administrators to federal agencies and departments appointed to respond. The ICS details procedures for communicating and safeguarding school occupants, buildings, and equipment.

Your school should follow ICS directives during:

  • Disease outbreaks
  • Students reported missing
  • Lab accidents involving hazardous materials
  • The presence of criminals and hostile intruders
  • Fire and weather disasters
  • Incidents on campus property and at school events, such as graduations, sports games, festivals, and drills

The Department of Homeland Security recommends that local and state governments adopt two codes devised by the National Fire Protection Administration. Entitled “NFPA 1600” and “NFPA 1561,” these standards specify actions to take during emergencies. The first code describes the requisites of an action plan while the second explains how to meet them.

You can help your school administration to respond effectively to a national emergency by reviewing the NIMS, ICS, NFPA 1600, and NFPA 1561. Implementing these directives can also protect your institution from litigation.

The Crisis Prevention Institute offers a free download of lifesaving tips for emergency preparedness. Information is based on research by Safe Havens International. To practice action plans, conduct drills that mimic emergency situations. Training should involve students, teachers, custodians, and administrative staff.

Keep building blueprints available for emergency responders. During a campus emergency or disaster, they’ll need to know the school layout and location of fuses and utility equipment.


3. Use protective technology and layouts inside classrooms.

Install panic alarms at teachers’ desks that sound in the Administrative Office. Also, equip each classroom with an intercom system that connects with Administration. Another option is giving staff two-way radios.

Teachers should position their desks far from doors. Increasing distance gives teachers more time to act against an intruder. Also, use furniture near the door to form a hallway into the room. Bookcases and cabinets can serve as a wall, corralling a perpetrator.

Portable furniture can barricade a room, preventing an attacker from entering. At a school in a dangerous neighborhood, a teacher may want to keep the classroom door locked, except at the start and conclusion of periods.

In case of evacuation, teachers must know how to operate classroom windows. If they can’t be opened, teachers need tools to break windows. All building occupants should be aware of the nearest exit. Also necessary is familiarity with overall building layout.


4. Involve school counselors.

Bully Prevention Programs

Counselors can implement the PATHS curriculum, a program that reduces aggression and behavioral problems in children. Information and activities are provided for both students and parents. Schools receive evaluation kits by which they can measure success.

The PATHS curriculum calls for counselors to hold sessions two to three times weekly, for at least 20 minutes per class. Counselors receive all materials, lessons, and instructions to conduct the program. Students learn empathy expression, self-control techniques, problem-solving, peaceful conflict resolution, and ways to have positive peer relationships. The curriculum also teaches skills in listening, reading, and writing.

PATHS includes a model for preschool and kindergarten children. This curriculum teaches emotional awareness, self-control, problem-solving, and social skills. It also promotes confidence and friendships. Materials are provided for reading, writing, storytelling, science, math, drawing, singing, and thinking skills.



Counselors can hold student meetings, urging kids to band together to face off bullies. Hecklers often back down quickly when met with verbal opposition. Victims should promptly report berating behavior. Although they may fear a bully will attack harder if identified, assure victims they’ll be protected by authorities.

Counselors must emphasize that students should never counter aggressive behavior with violence. The first response should be standing beside a harassed student. Next, supporters should tell a bully to back off, and warn of being reported.

Another way to thwart abuse is asserting the admirable qualities of the targeted student. Meanwhile, bystanders must quickly bring badgering to the attention of school authorities.

When bullies are identified, they should be brought to the school advisor for counseling. Administration may also need to enforce discipline. Heckled students need the counselor’s support.



In the aftermath of a crisis, counselors should provide therapy to affected students. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps kids mentally and emotionally process their reactions. This type of therapy involves replacing negative thought patterns with a positive mindset.

Also taught are coping strategies to counteract the effects of being attacked. For example, kids may need to rebound from being labeled fat, stupid, or ugly. Then, they can recover self-esteem, confidence, and strength.


5. Foster a close-knit school community.

The best way to deter violence, drugs, and bullying is to maintain a supportive environment. In low-income communities, quality schools fill both material and emotional needs. Many institutions offer free meals, clothing, counseling, health screenings, and onsite medical care to students and families.

Teachers who show genuine concern for students tend to receive their cooperation. Kids who feel valued are more likely to succeed academically and socially than those treated poorly by school staff. Ignored students may go to great lengths to get attention.

You can promote unity at your school by offering classes that teach multicultural perspectives. Kids learn to respect and admire differences, rather than ridicule them. Also, invite parents to events that celebrate cultural diversity. Examples are concerts, fairs, craft workshops, and meals featuring international cuisine.

Teachers should identify student strengths, talents, and interests, and find ways to develop them. When educators model virtues like patience, empathy, and forgiveness, students follow suit.

The Good School Toolkit can help you create a caring school culture. Material is divided into three segments, spanning an 18-month period. School staff can choose from 60 activities designed to:

  • Improve classroom management
  • Effect non-violent discipline
  • Develop mutual respect
  • Promote learning

Among the engaging materials are cartoon booklets and posters. The Good School Toolkit is available as a free download.

Safe Education

To protect staff and students:

  • Tighten building and campus security
  • Devise and practice emergency action plans
  • Use protective technology and layouts inside classrooms
  • Involve school counselors
  • Foster a close-knit school community

Attending school should prompt eagerness rather than fear. When students feel safe, they can focus on learning. A supportive school environment prepares kids to succeed in life. You’re a vital cog in the wheel of the education system. What a profound difference you’ll make!

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

ACT Scores and Scholarships Reply

While the SAT (or rather, the PSAT) is famously associated with the National Merit Scholar competition, the ACT can sometimes be overlooked as a source of college money. However, do some quick research and you’ll see: those points can be pretty valuable in the long-term, even after you’ve gotten your acceptance letters.

Can I Really Get Money for College Based on My ACT Score?

Yes! Keep in mind, though, that scholarships won’t be automatically awarded, because they’re not given by or administered through the ACT organization. Instead, you’ll have to look to individual organizations, foundations, and universities and apply through them. Does this make it a little more complicated to get scholarship money? Sure. Is it worth it, for (potentially) thousands of dollars off your college tuition? Definitely.

How Much Money Can I Get?

It really depends. Mostly, it depends on how high your score is. Scores of 30+ are in a good range for scholarships, because they place you well in the top ten percentile of test-takers.

Scholarship dollars are just one of many reasons why it’s important to start prepping for the ACT early. Taking the PreACT, for example, gives you great test-day experience without any of the pressure of the official exam (but no, you won’t qualify for any scholarships through PreACT scores). If your school doesn’t offer the opportunity to take the PreACT, or you missed testing for another reason, take an ACT practice test to get a sense of where you’d score if you took the test today.

Remember, these tests don’t tell us anything about how you’ll eventually score on the official exam: they only provide a snapshot of where you are right now. And that’s a really good thing, because once you know where you are, you can make a plan to reach your goals.

How Can I Get My Score Higher?

Maybe you’re aiming to get a perfect 36 (which will qualify you for lots of scholarships); maybe you’re trying for that stratospheric 30+; maybe you’re just trying to get your score as high as possible (one of the best goals, if you ask me). Whatever goal you’ve set, you’ll need to be methodical about reaching it.

Start with your PreACT or ACT practice test scores. Look at the questions you got right and wrong, and try to classify them. Where were your highest sectionals scores? Where were your lowest? Did you miss a lot of geometry problems? Were scientific experiment questions your hands-down favorites?

From there, you can evaluate what you’ll need to study to boost your score as high as possible. Take into consideration the time you have left before test day; get a great ACT study guide, and be realistic—even if you end up retaking the test a few months from now, that score could still put you in the running for major scholarship money.

So…How Do I Get This Money?

The first thing to do is to check with schools at which you’ve been accepted (or are applying) to make sure that you’re in the running for any scholarships they have available. Some schools will automatically consider all applicants for scholarships, while others require separate applications.

Then, you’ll have to do a little digging. Check out scholarships in your area, given by organizations like the Rotary Club. Check out scholarships given for students working towards particular career goals (like future CIA employees—true story). You’d be amazed at what scholarships are available, so get out your laptop, start Googling, and don’t forget to follow up with your guidance counselor, who may have experience with some of these organizations.

One last thing to keep in mind: not all ACT scholarships are created equal. Some scholarships use ACT scores as just one aspect of overall applications—so while a higher ACT score can help you get those scholarships (or get you more money), your GPA and other factors, from where you live to your ethnic background to your career plans, can also come into play. So do your research before sinking lots of time into each application!

Rachel Kapelke-Dale is a High School and Graduate Exams blogger at Magoosh. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, an MA from the Université de Paris VII, and a PhD from University College London. She has taught test preparation and consulted on admissions practices for over eight years. Currently, Rachel divides her time between the US and London.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.