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COLLEGE TRENDS

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INBOUND

NOT WITHOUT MYPOD

A ploy to woo students? Sure, why not? Duke University's freshman class won't have to worry about feeling left out on the first day of school, at least in terms of being a part of this century's latest must-have tech gadget. The Blue Devils' orientation package for every first-year student includes an Apple iPod for, er, educational use. Duke is preloading them with orientation facts, an academic calendar and faculty-provided course content — with room, of course, for downloads.

POLITICAL RUSH

Forget Greek mixers and dorm meet and greets. The hottest place to be and be seen on campus this fall is at political rallies. Not to mention the effect it's having on the latest back-to-school look. Voting paraphernalia such as T-shirts and pins are required fashion accessories for every student's back-to-college wardrobe.

ASIAN FUSION

While Europe still draws the majority of students studying abroad, destinations like China and Japan have experienced double-digit growth in the category over the past five years. With Asian-inspired themes exploding in film and fashion, that section of the globe will continue to be a hot magnet for students.

MAJOR OVERHAUL

Individual studies programs allow students to customize their major by designing a customized curriculum to meet their specific needs and interests, and often partner with several other colleges to offer undergrads a wider range of course options. Young people's entrepreneurial spirit and the rise of nontraditional careers are definitely driving this trend.

OUTBOUND

GETTING RID OF THE “FRESHMAN 15?

Ok, so the “Freshman 15? (referring to the customary weight gain that first-year students experience in their first months of freedom from parental supervision) was never really “in,? but with the onslaught of low-carb beers and healthier options like salads and veggie burgers on those late-night runs to the fast-food joint, it will be much easier for incoming students to stave off unwanted pounds.

I ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU DID THIS SUMMER

Students can keep up with each other's gossip in real-time all summer long with out exchanging a single word. The year-end phone number and e-mail address exchange is “out? and is being replaced by students exchanging links to their personal blogs and online diaries in order to keep in touch over the summer.

WHO NEEDS CLASS ANYWAY?

Traditional universities are beginning to increase their online course offerings for on-campus students, providing them with greater scheduling flexibility, increased independence and arguably more responsibility. The virtual classroom seems to be taking over much more than the virtual office ever did in the early '90s. Say goodbye to passing notes and sticking gum under the seat.

NO MORE CLOCKING IN/CLOCKING OUT

Students are finding alternatives to traditional campus jobs like working in the local bookstore or coffee shop. Instead, they are turning to eBay, online fundraising efforts (where people can donate money to their favorite blogger, or buy them items from their online wish-list), and making and selling their own clothing and accessories to pay their way through school.

Source: Look-Look, Inc. ( www.look-look.com )

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