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Student Bloggers


Entries from October 1, 2008 - October 31, 2008


HP Freshman 15 Contest Winners

Big thanks to everyone that participated in the contest. We received a ton of submissions, coming from as far as Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Drum roll please...

Runners Up


Each runner up will receive a super-click HP laptop bag. These things have enough room for you old craptops and more padding than a helmet.

Grand Prize Winner

Anthony Pittman

If you won, keep an eye on your email inbox. We'll be getting in touch with you.

We'll discuss the winners and the runners up in next week's podcast! Be on the lookout!


HP Laptop Winners Announced Later Today

Emails have been pouring in over the last week for our HP laptop giveaway. We received hundreds of contest entries and are currently sifting through all of them.

We will be announcing a winner later today, so stay tuned!


HackCollege Season 2 Episode 5 - Obama/McCain on College

A special election episode featuring the issues that students care about. Also -- do students understand RSS?

Topics this week:

Presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain weigh in on the issues students care about:

  • Student loans: In light of recent scandals, what will the fed do?

  • Science and Technology: with the U.S. behind the curve, both parties have plans.

  • College costs: As tuition constantly rises, how will McCain and Obama keep things sane?

  • Federal Funding: Earmarks direct Congressional spending towards universities, but the schools might be better without them.

  • The Drinking Age: The Amethyst Initiative has made this something worth talking about. And both of the candidates have weighed in.

Plus, we asked 101 students: What is RSS? Their answers might surprise you.

Sponsors this week:


HackCollege is Now on Alltop!

Big news! Your favorite college blog and podcast has been accepted into Alltop, Guy Kawasaki's latest project. We're pumped about the news! Alltop touts itself as the"magazine rack" for the Web.

Head on over to and start reading some of the other college blogs!


We're Giving Away a Brand New HP Laptop!

Alright, it's taken us quite a little while. We apologize for that. To make it up to you, we'll be give away a free laptop, how does that sound? Go to to figure out how to win and all of the rules and such.

Good luck to everyone!


HackCollege Season 2 Episode 4: Bottle Poppin'



Chris shows off every possible way to open a beer in this week's HackCollege.

Topics this week:



Sponsors this week:



Oct172008 Announces Blogging $10,000 Scholarship

It's awesome when someone comes along and offers to give you money in exchange for something that you already do. is doing just that with its annual blogging scholarship.

So head on over and submit your blog! No matter how big or small, everyone has a chance at winning. And don't forget to submit any of your friends' blogs as well!


How to Deal with (Incompetent) Student Leaders

College is weird. College is weird in more ways than one. It's especially unique in that students can ascend the student job ranks to relatively high-paying positions with little or no prior experience. Or sometimes they just take their Glee Club treasurer position a little too seriously. Inherent in the concept of leadership is a lack of experience and an amount of incompetence. That's okay, we're students. We're supposed to learn, but improvement is necessary.

Student Government. Photo by flickr user ghindo

At one point or another--provided you aren't an engineering major that is working 'round the clock on homework--you will have a run-in with a terrible superior that is also your peer. After discussing the topic with a friend, we figured the problems with student leadership boil down to two things: communication and ego.


For how connected students are these days, it's remarkable how often miscommunication occurs.

Almost every student organization loses steam beginning about the fifth week into the term. I'm proposing that this is entirely the fault of a lack of communication. Around the fifth week, organizations without tight communication begin to slowly unwind. The goals set that first week get forgotten. Everyone runs around like a self-serving headless chicken.

Connecting the Lines

The key--in my experience--for successful communication is to keep it concise, relevant and constant.

For concision, keep emails to a maximum of 5 lines and limit yourself to only a few per day to each person. Word counts should be less than 200.

Keep communication relevant. Each email or message sent should have one topic. Write a clear subject line. Given the growing paradigm of search over organization (i.e. I search for emails rather than go poking around in dozens of folders), concise emails with relevant subjects and key phrases insure effective communication and quick retrieval of old information.

Without constant communication, an organization loses steam. People need reminders of goals and milestones to be reached of each campaign. Establishing a reliable (and sensical) method of communication early is key. Weekly "in real life" meetings aren't the answer. Why meet if there isn't a reason to?

A great solution for communication for my own personal endeavors has been religious use of BaseCamp, the Web 2.0 project management software. Check it out.


Straight up: students seem more susceptible to ego-inflation, especially for positions that he or she has been voted into. Because a certain leader garnered 51% of the students that bothered to vote, that leader suddenly believes that she possesses a God-given mandate to execute upon each idea on her platform.

Sooner or later, ego begins to trump accountability and organization. Feelings start to get hurt. People start leaving the organization. If an unbridled egomaniac runs wild for long enough, the entire entity comes undone.

Deflate that Balloon

There's not much you can do to deflate someone's inflated ego without organizing some intervention worthy of an MTV special. The best you can do is to protect yourself from being bullied.

My personal method of handling this is to let my superiors know that I need at least a 48-hour warning to complete anything. Even if my week is more open than Linux, I still hold myself and others to a 48-hour cutoff.

Why? Without such a system in place, you start becoming the personal assistant to anyone that needs work done for them. It might not be a problem at first, but soon you will find yourself overwhelmed with work you shouldn't be doing.

Stay tuned for a post dealing with those incompetent leaders that never graduated.

How do you deal with incompetent superiors? Let us know in a comment (or two)!