NEW COLUMN – The Net Nerd’s Website Profiles

The first installment of a new column featuring the best of the net, with a student focus.

If you just can’t get enough of books and studying check out: http://www.schoolfinder.com

This website has tons of information on Canadian universities, colleges, and even high schools (over 700 schools). Schoolfinder.com also has information on financing, careers and tips for new students. This website is a thorough and comprehensive list of Canadian schools. For each university you can check out topics such as admissions, fees, financial aid, facilities, programs, and contacts all without visiting the university website (though there are links to the schools’ websites as well).

You can also check out virtually every scholarship available in Canada, whether it is from a particular university or open to every student, and you can sign up for a free account which allows you to make and manage your own career, school and scholarship folders. As an added convenience, a Schoolfinder account also works on these other student service websites: http://www.scholarshipscanada.com/, http://www.studyincanada.com/, http://www.books4exchange.com/ and http://www.myschool101.com/.

Schoolfinder.com is the starting ground for any student who wants to research a particular school. I use this website to find contact and website information for different universities across Canada.

Neat stuff: Check out the e-tours, which provide a short introduction to the university you’re researching. The pictures and videos offer a more visual introduction to the university. It’s basically the school’s ad for the prospective student, but a good way to see what they have to offer.

Not so neat stuff: Most of the information and articles are geared toward the 18 year old student leaving home for the first time, so it might not apply to us distance learners.

Rating: ****/5 The wealth of information and the easy site navigation, makes this one a definite bookmark.

You’re bored, and ready to give your textbooks to the neighbors dogs to use as a chewtoy? Check out: http://www.thespark.com

What can I say about theSpark.com? This website is a respite for those whose brains are addled with the constant barrage of finals, papers, and deadlines (nobody ever accused me of not being dramatic enough!). TheSpark.com is dedicated to sardonic (with a strong screwball factor) humour and (sometimes mean-spirited) fun. Some of the subject matter may not be for everyone, but I’m sure even my grandma would chuckle at some of the stuff.

Check out their “features” with headlines such as : Heroic family dog drags problem child back into burning building and Poor Spelling Children Pay Dearly for “Letters to Satan”. The “Science” section includes such experiments as The Date My Sister Project and The Stinky Feet Project. Take personality tests such as The Un-intelligence Test and The Bitch Test (my sisters didn’t believe my score would be so low), plus many other fun tests. A neat feature for the single or wish-to-be-single people out there is the Pimpin’ Cupid. You list friends and acquaintances you like and The Spark notifies you if you are on their list as well. Kind of like a fifth grade recess thing.

TheSpark.com is a fun, laid back way to take a break from studying and school. I find myself laughing out loud sometimes. And even after several repeat visits to this site, I have found new things each and every time.

Neat Stuff: Spark Notes are a takeoff of Cliff Notes. Create a free account to get free online and downloadable study guides on several university subjects.

Send a friend (or enemy) a Spark Card. E-greetings for many different occasions, some not for the easily offended.

Not so neat stuff: The amount of pop-ups is very annoying (I counted nine during a fifteen minute session). If you have young children (especially reading ones) you might find yourself doing some explaining you weren’t prepared for.

Rating: ****1/2 / 5 If not for the persistent pop-up ads, this site would have merited a full five. Easy to navigate and lots of entertainment.

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