There are dozens of online schools, and hundreds of degree programs offered within those schools, which causes us to question how these programs take off to literally become the “best” degree programs available. Many factors go into developing this type of degree program, including accreditation, cost, and options offered. New schools rarely garner this type of attention that is given to schools that have had years of opportunities to make a name for themselves.
Developing online degree programs that appeal to the masses is difficult to do during a time in which people are not experimenting with different degrees. However, our economy has shifted in such a way that many students are looking at alternative degrees that make better sense in this economic time. No longer are students wishing to delve deeper into English degrees or Political Science degrees, but instead are looking at degrees which will guarantee them a career, such as Criminal Justice or Health Administration. Schools which offer degree programs in these types of majors are more appealing to students, especially if they offer more specialized degrees within their fields.
A factor for many students is also the cost of enrollment. With college costs skyrocketing, it is no surprise that online colleges have had to raise their prices as well. However, a few schools that are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council have managed to keep costs low for many of their degree programs. Charging around $500-600 per course hour for undergraduate degrees and a little over $600 per hour for graduate degrees, these schools offer degrees at competitive rates, thereby attracting students to their programs. The amount of grants and scholarships offered within these schools often makes a difference as well. However, many new schools do not have the means to provide such scholarships at their onset, which helps to explain how the best online degree programs are usually in schools that have been in existence for a few years.
The options within most schools are slowly expanding to offer students the opportunity to explore different undergraduate degrees as well as forms of Masters Degrees. MBAs are becoming increasingly popular within the business world, as more and more executives are attaining degrees via online universities in order to get a pay raise. Similarly, Ph.D.s are becoming popular as well within health industry degrees and other business related degrees. Schools that offer the best degree programs for students in both undergraduate and graduate degrees are often those that are the top rated within their field. Appealing to a wide array of the population is one way to improve in ranking and to continue on a solid course.
College students have to take on lots of reading and memorization, and sometimes, it’s just too much to handle. So how do you manage to read everything you need to AND remember it all? Just try out these 52 tips and you’ll be in much better shape when test time rolls around.
Put these tips to work to boost your reading speed.
Don’t read aloud: Stay away from vocalization or subvocalization, which will dramatically reduce your reading speed.
Skip around: Don’t be afraid to skip paragraphs and words that aren’t important.
Give yourself less time: Push yourself to reduce the time you take to read blocks of information, and you’ll get better at it.
Use your hands: Move your hand down the page as you read, keeping a constant motion.
Let go of easy information: Don’t force yourself to remember small things like appointments and tasks-use calendars, notepads and other tools to take a load off and focus on remembering what really matters.
Unschooling is an alternative education system that supports natural, interest-led learning at home. Whether you want to learn more about unschooling for your own research or child rearing projects, network with other parents who unschool their kids, or adopt some of the alternative learning philosophies to augment your own formal education, check out these 50 eye-opening blogs.
To find out more about what unschooling really means, visit these blogs.
Life Without School: This community blog takes a look at unschooling culture while explaining the unschooling philosophy.
Organic Learning: This family of five shares their learning experiences with the world through the blog Organic Learning.
Once Upon a Photobooth: This blogger is a member of the Radical Unschoolers Network and writes about activist projects, teaching her two sons at home, and more.
Learning All the Time (Daily Experiences): Other unschooling parents will appreciate the posts on this blog, which comment on all the little ideas and activities that make the natural parenting and learning philosophy great.
Learning through Living: Stephanie and her husband are raising their four kids by adhering to a natural learning lifestyle.
Spiral Pathways: "earthmama" is a yogi who writes about homeschooling and living a green life.
Learning in Freedom: If you want to learn how kids learn naturally, check out Ren Allen’s blog.
Laura Nicole Garbers: Laura Nicole Garbers is a writer and career coach whose blog often focuses on unschooling practices and theory.
Some unschooling families take their choice not to conform to the next level by living on the road, in the mountains, and according to their own rules.
Snavley Freebirds: This family of five travels and learns together without conforming to society’s small "boxes."
An Untraditional Home: Dad is a web geek, mom is an artist, and with their kids, they play, learn and worship at home.
Loving, Living Learning: This unschooling family lives a life full of love, laughter and learning in an untraditional way.
Three Plus Two: This blogger has three kids whom she likes to feature in blog posts about creative learning and living.
Perpetual Joy: Discover ways to teach your young children by following this blog about young Kathrynn’s education.
College is full of invaluable opportunities for self exploration, professional development, networking, intellectual stimulation and social experimentation, but is it really necessary? These 10 CEOs found wealth, fame and success with very minimal college education, if any. Here you can read about CEOs and billionaires who have influenced media, the arts, education, the oil business, technology and more without a formal education.
David Oreck: Oreck Corporation CEO David Oreck founded his vacuum cleaner and air purifier company in 1963. Today, products like the Oreck XL Upright Vacuums, Canister Vacuum Cleaners and Cordless Zip Vac are top sellers, and David Oreck is in a position to donate money to museums and schools in Colorado and Louisiana. But despite his modern day success, Oreck never went to college and built up his company by working his way up the old-fashioned way. Born near Duluth, MN, in 1923, Oreck was fascinated with engines, electronics and engineering. He joined the Air Force during WWII, and when he returned, he worked for RCA as a wholesale distributor. Oreck stayed with the company for 17 years before coming up with the idea to start his own company.
Richard Branson: English businessman Richard Branson was estimated to have a net worth of $4.4 billion in 2008 by Forbes.com, and he is best known for his Virgin business empire. Virgin Records was started in 1970, but since then, Branson has expanded to include airlines, global warming projects, media, comics, and more. Branson grew up in South London and struggled with dyslexia in school until he was 17. He never attended college, but he does have an honorary Doctor of Technology from Loughborough University.
Andrew Carnegie: Andrew Carnegie is still known as one of the most famously successful benefactors, businessmen, and industrialists in American history. Carnegie, who was born in 1835, founded the Carnegie Steel Company and ultimately dominated the U.S. steel market with Federal Steel and U.S. Steel. Carnegie accumulated a massive fortune, most of which he donated or used to form endowments, museums and universities like Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Despite his immortalized fame and success, Carnegie started from humble beginnings in Dunfermline, Scotland. The family moved to Pennsylvania in 1848, where Carnegie immediately had to begin working to help his family survive and pay off debts. A local colonel helped educate young working boys in the area by allowing them to visit his huge library, which Carnegie valued.
John D. Rockefeller: Another American icon and business legend was John D. Rockefeller, who was born in 1839 and who is credited with implementing the modern standards for corporate business strategy, philanthropy and the oil industry. Rockefeller was born in Richford, NY, but moved with his family to Cleveland as a teenager. Rockefeller began working at 16 as an assistant bookkeeper, during which time he supposedly pledged to donate 10% of his money to charity when he retired. During the mid to late 1800s, Rockefeller entered into and then began to dominate the oil business through his company Standard Oil. Though his success was controversial, Rockefeller became one of the richest men in the country and was also known for donating money to his church and to other projects, including the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Henry Ford: Henry Ford isn’t just known as the founder of the Ford Motor Co.; he’s also credited with establishing modern day assembly line operations and mass production systems. Born in 1863 near Detroit, MI, the innovative Ford grew up on a farm but ultimately left the country after his mother died. At just 16, Ford moved to Detroit and began working as an apprentice machinist. After returning to his home and gaining experience working with steam engines, Ford ran his own farm and sawmill. Nearly 10 years later, Ford turned to engineering and began experimenting with his own vehicles and gas engines. He founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903.
Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Inc. and former CEO of Pixar Animation Studios is worshipped by techies and everyday computer users alike. Even though he is regarded as one of the most innovative minds in the country, Jobs barely attended college. He dropped out of Reed College after just one semester, though he continued to audit calligraphy classes.
Walt Disney: Walt Disney founder Walter Elias Disney created one of the most beloved, iconic and successful entertainment enterprises in the world and donated a significant percentage of his fortune to charities. Disney, who personally created Mickey Mouse, attended McKinley High School and the Chicago Art Institute as a teenager in Chicago. He dropped out of school, however, to join the Red Cross for which he drove an ambulance in France during WWI. After the war, Disney designed ads for movie houses, newspapers and magazines, and in 1920, he formed his first company, the Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists company.
John Paul DeJoria: John Paul DeJoria has an incredibly inspiring story that has led him to become a billionaire entrepreneur and the co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems hair care products. DeJoria was born in 1944 in Los Angeles and was raised in a foster home. He was in a gang in high school but joined the Navy for two years after graduating. After the Navy, DeJoria worked at odd jobs, including at Redken Laboratories, until founding the John Paul Mitchell Systems with Paul Mitchell in 1980. In 2008, Forbes.com estimated DeJoria’s net worth at $3.5 billion.
Barry Diller: Barry Diller, Chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActivCorp and co-founder of Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting is one of the most influential figures in media and business and is married to fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, an extremely powerful figure in the fashion industry. Diller was born in San Francisco in 1942, and though he technically started UCLA, he dropped out after only one semester. He began his career in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency, and a few years later began working for ABC. In the 1970s and 1980s, Diller served as CEO of Paramount Pictures, and in 1984 became the CEO of Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox.
Bill Gates: Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is one of the richest men in the entire world and a powerfully innovative entrepreneur. Gates founded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975, though the company didn’t reach its full potential until years later. Gates was born in Seattle in 1955, and although he was a gifted student and scored a 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs, he dropped out of Harvard soon after enrolling.
Choosing a college, completing the application process, writing essays and waiting around to hear if you’re accepted or not can be a truly stressful and time consuming process that usually requires a plan of action years in advance. Many students have numerous questions, things they’re unsure about and limited guidance to get them through the process successfully. Fortunately, the internet can be a great resource for prospective college students looking for help. Here are 100 cheat sheets and informational guides to make finding and getting into the college of your dreams a little less complicated.
These sites will take you through multiple aspects of college applications, often step-by-step.
Choosing a College That’s Right for You: Some colleges may look greaton paper but not be such a good match for you in reality. Check out this guide to find out how to choose a match that will make you happy.
The Personal Interview: Whether you’re applying for a job or for college, this article will give you some tips on giving a wonderful personal interview.
Even if you don’t know if you’re accepted to college you’ll need to start applying for funding like scholarships and grants. Learn how the process works and how you can make the most of the resources out there to reduce college costs.
Scholarship Tips: Check out these helpful tips to learn some better ways to go about looking for scholarships.
A College Guide to Overcoming Homesickness: If you’re close to your family or have never been away from home for an extended period of time,you may be nervous about being homesick. Read this guide beforehand to give you some tips to make the transition easier.
It’s rarely easy to get started as an artist, but there are numerous resources available to help you get there. Whether you’re looking for career guides or a site that can host your portfolio, you’re in the right place. Read on to find 100 of the best tools for getting started with your art career.
Portfolios & Galleries
Put your portfolio up using these tools, and get some exposure for your art.
FinalCrit: Create an easy, beautiful Flash gallery of your images through FinalCrit.
FigDig: Show off your work in high resolution through FigDig.
Artween: This social networking site is entirely devoted to artists and art lovers.
Even distinguished universities are starting to offer respected online degree programs; but for some, there is still a sigma associated with online learning. But distance education isn’t just for people who can’t get accepted anywhere else or who don’t have dreams of being successful in their field. These five celebrities have attended online schools, including the University of Phoenix and Penn State.
Shaquille O’Neal: Basketball powerhouse and four-time NBA Championship winner Shaquille O’Neal has branched out into acting, music, and even law enforcement. His formal education is just as diverse: O’Neal started out at LSU but dropped out after three years to play for the NBA. In 2000, he returned to LSU and earned a bachelor’s degree in General Studies, just as he promised his mother he would do. After earning a bachelor’s degree, however, O’Neal decided to return to school; and in 2005, he earned an MBA from the University of Phoenix online.
Mary Peters: Proving that an online degree can help you reach the White House, former United States Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters served under President George W. Bush from 2006 – 2009. Peters is a Phoenix, AZ, native and also a graduate of the University of Phoenix online program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Phoenix before working for the Arizona Department of Transportation in the 1980s.
Lisa Leslie: Lisa Leslie is considered to be one of the greatest female athletes of all time. She was the first player to dunk in a WNBA game, is a three-time WNBA MVP, and has four Olympic gold medals. Leslie played college basketball at the University of Southern California in the early 1990s and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications. She ultimately went back to school and earned an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Sasha Cohen: Figure skater Sasha Cohen is a U.S. National Champion, Grand Prix Final Champion and Olympic silver medalist, but she is still considering a return to competition at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The 24-year-old California native is also focused on her education, studying nutrition from Penn State University’s online program.
Hilary Duff: Hilary Duff has been acting and singing professionally from a young age, and though she was raised in Texas, she has been working and living in Los Angeles since the 1990s. Now, Duff has her own clothing line and lifestyle brand, continues to act and sing, and is even taking college classes online through the Harvard Extension School.
Twitter is a growing phenomenon among everyone from stay-at-home moms to the US President. Lawyers and other law professionals haven’t missed out on this trend either, and you can find numerous Twitter feeds that are full of insights into the work of these working professionals in all areas of the field. Here are 100 Twitter feeds we’ve pulled together from law librarians, lawyers, students and much more to keep you in the loop.
These Tweeters are in the same boat as you, sharing their experiences in law school as well as advice and guidance on law issues and much more.
Rex7: This third year law student is approaching graduation and a potential career in litigation and provides loads of valuable links and information.
TheSenator: Tweeter Jessica is a law student in Knoxville, Tennessee tweets about her experience as a law student, politics, comic books and everything else.
mynameisdom: Check out this feed for tweets from this second year law student living in Manhattan.
sabrinaross: Sabrina is a law student at Berkeley Law who shares her research, studies and struggles as she works towards a degree.
NTLS: Here you’ll find the feed of Larry Brown, a non-traditional law student currently working as an accountant balancing a career and family.
joshcamson: Self-professed nerd and law student Josh shares his thoughts on law school, technology and more.
tokkibell: Thisstudent is attending Washington University in St. Louis talks about his travels, schools and job hunting.
justinianlane: Those interested in law and civil justice will find another to share ideas with in this tweeter.
no634: Minneapolis student Jansen is working on getting his law degree and tweeting along the way.
mglickman: This Tweeter is not only a law student but also works as an IT guy and still finds time to spend with his children.
kluper: Student Katie Luper is attending law school and keeping up with the latest technology.
Check out these law firms who are embracing the power of the internet to tell you what they’re up to. Many are top firms that law students and paralegal students can keep up with for future employment opportunities.
Deacons: This Australian law firm is one of the fastest growing on the continent and keeps you up to date with what the partners are doing through the feed.
statonip: Staton Law Firm lets you know just what they’ve been working on through regular Twitter activity.
fulbright: The International Law Firm of Fulbright & Jaworski maintains this feed with links and updates relevant to the law community.
KattenLaw: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, a Chicago law firm, is a full-service firm that posts updates on recent cases in their feed.
McDermottLaw: This leading international law firm, McDermott Will & Emory, has taken to the net with regular posts on Twitter.
weilgotshal: This firm has 21 offices worldwide and makes it easy for you to keep up with them in their feed.
WCSRtwit: With a cute bulldog as their logo, Womble Carlyle keeps you in the loop when it comes to law news and their own business practice.
gowlings_law: Take a trip to our northern neighbors and learn more about their law practices from this Canadian firm’s tweets.
SimmonsCooper: Simmons Cooper is a nationwide law firm that spends a lot of its time dealing with asbestos cases as you will see from their feed.
PatelWarren: This Houston-area firm specializes in family law and civil litigation.
shannongracey: Self-described as a "Texas-sized" practice, this firm deals with everything from oil issues to insurance.
Researching cases in school and beyond will be an essential part of your law career. These librarians are working hard to help you find what you’re looking for.
glambert: Greg Lambert is a law librarian, blogger and social media speaker who has some great ideas and information to offer in his feed.
stevematthews: Steve Matthews is the founder of Stem Legal, a law librarian and all around internet marketing whiz.
jeiseman: This tweeter works at Yale Law Library and posts about his daily experiences as well as law librarian issues.
BetsyMckenzie: Law librarian Besty posts updates about libraries and technology in her feed.
RKaiser: Don’t let this law librarian fool you, she’s up-to-date on the latest technology, not just Twitter but podcasting as well.
jogiammattei: You can read more about the activities of this law librarian through her twittering.
amylibrarian: While not a law librarian, this blogger does work in the academic setting and can offer insights into her profession and libraries in general.
sglassmeyer: Tweeter Sarah is the reference librarian at University of Kentucky College of Law and her feed lets you in on her daily activities.
mak506: Learn about the personal and profession life of this law librarian.
Carravaggio: David Holt is a Librarian at the Santa Clara University School of Law and shares his thoughts on technology and more here.
shucha: Head of Reference at the UW Law Library, Bonnie is a great resource for information about libraries and a whole lot more.
robertheym: This tweeter used to be an attorney but now works as a law librarian offering insights from both sides.
Law students can learn more about the careers of working lawyers, their opinions and experiences through these Twitter feeds.
dhowell: Denise Howell is a lawyer, mom and lover all of techie stuff.
Montaignejns: This lawyer is addicted to politics and news and often posts about them in this feed.
BILL_ROMANOS: Bill is an attorney for an aerospace company and can provide some insights into the field for prospective employees.
LeeRosen: If divorce law is your thing then check out this divorce lawyer’s feed.
taxgirl: Find out what it takes to be a tax lawyer through this regularly updated feed.
nikiblack: Niki spends her time working as a lawyer, doing legal writing, blogging and perusing social media like Twitter.
adriandayton: This corporate lawyer is working hard at becoming a published author.
probateblogger: Here you’ll find some amusing legal stories from this probate lawyer.
kreisman1: Attorney Bob Kreisman shares his and his firm’s activities in this feed.
guntrustlawyer: From estate planning to guardianship, this lawyer takes care of numerous issues that are important to families.
BostonAttorney: This lawyer handles personal injury cases as well as business and insurance issues.
MACrimeLawyer: Living in Massachusetts, this criminal lawyer shares his thoughts on a range of criminal law issues.
barrettdavid: Barrett David is not only a business litigation lawyer but maintains the largest LinkedIn lawyer network.
lisasolomon: This professional is concentrating on legal research and writing so law students like you can stay in the loop.
Lawyers and More
These Twitterers are lawyers, but they embrace other careers as well. Keep up with their multi-faceted lives with their Twitter feeds.
kevinhouchin: Kevin is an attorney who dabbles in writing, art, speaking, marketing and more.
AlexisNeely: This busy mom is a lawyer who spends a lot of her time as a financial expert on television programs and writing books to help families get their finances under control.
ronfox: Ron works as a lawyer but also works helping lawyers who have been laid off or who are dissatisfied with their jobs find new work.
upwardaction: T.C. Coleman is more than a lawyer. She also runs a firm that coaches businesses on better marketing and branding.
LawBiz: Ed Poll is CEO of LawBiz Mgt, a firm that helps to coach and consult with lawyers so they’ll be more successful.
stacystern: As president of Justica.com, Stacey Stern is busy online and in the law profession.
LDPodcast: With interests that include the law profession, pediatrics, and podcasting, the lawyer and mom is one busy woman.
commcounsel: This tweeter is a media law attorney, crisis communications advisor, PR strategist, speech coach, media relations trainer, and adjunct professor of law.
ElizabethPW: With maintaining a law career, hosting a radio show, and home schooling her children it’s amazing this attorney has time to Twitter.
Professors and Academics
These Twitterers are teaching law students just like you and preparing the next generation of lawyers.
LawProf: IP/TechLaw prof Michael Scott shares his thoughts on the internet, technology and legal issues in this feed.
Zittrain: This tech-loving professor tweets about his classes, thoughts about technology and a lot more.
MarkRMatthews: This attorney is also a professor and shares his thoughts, often from a conservative viewpoint, on a range of issues.
lessig: Check out this feed to read the posts of this Canadian law professor.
Nechlaw: This professor is interested in immigration law and gay rights and share his thoughts on his feed.
ericgoldman: Associate Professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, Eric Goldman uses his feed to share his personal and professional interests.
jmilles: Here you can read tweets from James Milles a professor at the SUNY University at Buffalo Law School.
AnnePMitchell: Anne is CEO of an email delivery service, a law professor and former attorney who still finds time to twitter.
annalthouse: This blogger and law professor shares her thoughts here.
shaunjamison: Shaun Jameson is a busy guy, working as a law professor, life and business coach, and law speaker.
Technology and the Law
What topic is more apt for lawyers to talk about on Twitter than technology laws? These feeds focus on just that.
CopyrightLaw: Copyrights can be hard to control in the wild west environment of the internet. This blog can keep you updated on all kinds of copyright law news.
InternetLaw: Want to learn more about the laws that apply to the internet? Check out this helpful feed for more information.
PrivacyLaw: Professor Michael Scott keeps you up-to-date with what’s going on with privacy law in the new age of the internet in this feed.
Josh Kagan: With interests in technology law, video games and the legal profession, this Tweeter can help you keep up with the latest goings-on.
kevinokeefe: Kevin is not only a lawyer but also is the CEO of LexBlog and the operator of LexTweet.
BrettTrout: This attorney isn’t just working with patent law but has also published a book called CyberLaw.
rkoman: Check out this feed for information about civil litigation and technology.
kaplanmyrth: This Canadian lawyer works in technology law and new media.
bobcoffield: With expertise in health care, business and technology law, attorney Bob Coffield has a lot to offer interested readers.
adamesq: Adam is an attorney specializing in technology, making him a good resource for students interested in pursuing a similar career.
EFF: The Electronic Frontier Foundation is dedicated to helping individuals defend their civil liberties online.
Graduates of law programs will more than likely be depending on the skills and expertise of paralegals to make their jobs easier. Find out more about what these professionals do, their experiences in law and more from these feeds.
LauraLeeSparks: Laura is more than just a paralegal with a wide range of other skills and interests to offer as well that can be helpful in your law career.
ExpertParalegal: Tweeter Lynn is a paralegal and an author of a book who has loads of knowledge to share about her field.
lilyhill: With a wide variety of posts in her feed, this paralegal and digital consultant has lots of interesting reading to offer.
Lrantz: Linda Rantz is a bankruptcy paralegal who sometimes works as a virtual assistant on the net in the same capacity.
lawfirmblogger: This feed is home to posts on the legal profession as well as advice on navigating the net.
ATLparalegal: Want to find paralegals to work over the net? This gal could be what you’re looking for.
cerussell123: This Chicago-area paralegal shares her experiences working at Kreisman Law Offices.
VickiVoisin: Vicki is a paralegal trainer and mentor who posts about her career in this feed.
ParaGate: Jeannie Johnston is paralegal but also the CEO of the largest paralegal magazine out there. Check out her feed for more info.
These law schools have taken up Twittering to share their news, events and important information for law students at their school and other schools across the nation.
harvard_law: Harvard Law was the school of choice for our president and you can learn more about what they have going on through their feed activity.
stanfordlaw: This California-based school offers loads of news items in their feed that are relevant to law students.
uchicagolaw: The University of Chicago maintains this blog that updates you with everything happening with the school and the faculty.
DukeLawPub: Those interested in law publications may want to check out this Twitter feed from the Duke University Law School.
yalelawlibrary: Find out more about the resources available at Yale’s Law Library from this feed.
BaylorLawSchool: From learning more about the programs at Baylor to finding out what events are going on, you’ll find loads of information here.
nyulaw: New York University’s School of Law maintains this feed with posts relevant to the school specifically and the law community at large.
mulaw: Learn more about Marquette University’s Law School from this feed.
wululaw: This Virginia law school’s feed is full of law-related news updates and information about the school.
JMLS_Chicago: John Marshall Law School in Chicago shares their events and goings-on through their Twitter feed.
State and Federal Law
These feeds will keep you up-to-date on state and nationwide legal issues.
publiclaws: This feed will keep you abreast of U.S. federal laws as they are entered in the registrar, ensuring you stay on top of what’s new and important.
NewYorkCivilLaw: Maintained by attorney Matthew Lerner, this feed can help you learn more about updates to New York’s civil laws.
USSupremeCourt: Want to learn more about Supreme Court rulings? This feed is full of them.
With all the glitz and glamour, it’s hard to remember that celebrities are just regular people, too. Before they were famous, they went to school, had part-time jobs, and possibly even had dreams besides stardom. And while certain celebrities decided to give up on those dreams once they made it big, others have continued to pursue worthwhile causes, educating themselves and proving their worth beyond their high profile images. These ten celebrities aren’t just good looking and talented, they’re also incredibly smart and driven.
Jenny McCarthy: Former Playboy model–she was Playmate of the Year in 1993–Jenny McCarthy dominated the B-list entertainment industry as the big-chested blonde with an irreverent sense of humor. Over the next ten years, McCarthy hosted Playboy TV’s Hot Rocks, MTV’s Singled Out, E! TV’s Party at the Palms and The Jenny McCarthy Show on MTV. She continued to pose for and work for Playboy, but in 2007, McCarthy became known more for her autism activism than her crude movie roles and modeling gigs. After her son Evan was diagnosed with autism in 2005, McCarthy became a highly visible advocate for autism awareness and often criticized childhood vaccinations for their alleged role in causing autism. McCarthy served as spokeswoman for Talk About Curing Autism in 2007 and 2008, has written a book on autism advocacy, Louder than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, and contributes to FHM magazine.
George Clooney: George Clooney has been a celebrity since he started acting as Dr. Doug Ross on ER, but he belongs to a family of Hollywood royalty. His aunt was the legendary singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, who was married to Academy-Award winning actor Jose Ferrer. Over the years, however, Clooney developed from a TV star to a blockbuster movie star and sex symbol into a serious actor and director who has worked on award-winning projects like Good Night and Good Luck and Michael Clayton. Besides nurturing his career in the entertainment business, Clooney is well-known for his activism in bringing awareness to Darfur and other disadvantaged, war-torn regions in Africa. In January 2008, he was named by the United Nations as a Messenger of Peace and by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for his involvement in bringing awareness to Darfur. He has collaborated with writer and Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, his father Nick Clooney, fellow actor Don Cheadle, and others in various film and activism projects on behalf of the people in Darfur.
Ben Affleck: Another movie star-turned activist, Ben Affleck first became a real celebrity when he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. Though he took smaller roles in films before Good Will Hunting, after he shared the Oscar with Damon, Affleck was able to find work in more high-profile projects, like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. In 2007, Affleck won praise for directing and co-writing the screenplay for Gone Baby Gone, which starred his younger brother Casey Affleck. In addition to his film career, Ben Affleck is a political and social activist who has campaigned for Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama. He has even hinted that he may one day consider running for government office, and in 2008, Affleck began backing advocacy projects that seek to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis in the Congo.
Brooke Shields: Brook Shields has been in the spotlight since she began modeling at 11 months old. As a young teenager, she appeared on the cover of French, Italian and American Vogue magazines, and in Calvin Klein ads. Shields’ most famous child role was as Emmeline Lestrange in The Blue Lagoon, and she was a People’s Choice Award winner four years in a row in the early 1980s. In 1983, Shields enrolled in Princeton University and graduated in 1987 with a degree in French Literature. Shields is still considered an in-demand actress and maintains a high profile presence in the entertainment industry.
Ashley Judd: Actress Ashley Judd suffered a dysfunctional childhood as she traveled around the country with her mother Naomi Judd and half-sister Wynona Judd, as they pursued their musical careers. Judd, however, eventually attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in French and minors in Anthropology, Art History, Theater and Women’s Studies. Ashley Judd has appeared in movies like Ruby in Paradise, Natural Born Killers, and De-Lovely, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Today, Judd continues to act and is a strong supporter of women’s rights and animal rights.
Adam Sandler: Most Americans know Adam Sandler as the goofy SNL graduate who stars in comedies like Click, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, and The Wedding Singer. His rambunctious style combines toilet humor and physical comedy, but Sandler has also demonstrated serious acting skills in films like Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me. Sandler is also head of his own production company called Happy Madison Productions, which produced Joe Dirt, Little Nicky, The Master of Disguise, and more. In addition to enjoying huge commercial successes, Sandler also spent time as a serious performing student at New York University, graduating with a BFA in 1991.
Reese Witherspoon: Reese Witherspoon is one of the highest paid actresses in the entertainment industry, and is known as a do-it-all force who produces, acts and serves as a spokesperson for companies like Avon. She has won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. Before becoming a movie star, however, Witherspoon acted in films as a child, including The Man in the Moon, her first big role. After acting in other films and TV movies, Witherspoon attended Stanford University and majored in English literature before dropping out to pursue her movie career.
Angelina Jolie: When Angelina Jolie first became famous, she was known for her publicly sexual relationship with Billy Bob Thornton, penchant for knives and blood, and gothic appeal. When she won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Girl, Interrupted, her award was nearly overshadowed after she kissed her brother during the ceremony. Over the years, however, Jolie continued to receive critical praise and box office success for her movies, including the Lara Croft movies, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and A Mighty Heart. She has evolved to become a high profile advocate of various humanitarian causes and has been named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and received the first ever Citizen of the World Award from the United Nations Correspondents Association. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie has traveled to Pakistan, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka, and has given speeches at the World Economic Forum, a National Press Club luncheon, and other events.
Claire Danes: As a teenage actress, Claire Danes was the poster child for 90s angst and one of the most influential and successful young actresses of the time. She attended the elite Dalton School in New York and later won a Golden Globe for her role in the TV series My So-Called Life, starred in Little Women, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and others. Danes is the granddaughter of the dean of the art and architecture school at Yale University, and for two years, Danes enrolled at Yale as a psychology student before dropping out to pursue her film career. She is still considered a thoughtful, intelligent actress who stars in successful films like Shopgirl and The Hours.
Lily Cole: British model Lily Cole doesn’t fit the models-are-stupid stereotype. Cole graduated from the selective Latymer Upper School in London. As a teenager, she signed with the modeling agency Storm Models and has worked with top fashion professionals like photographer Steven Meisel and designers like Alexander McQueen. She has been the face for Rimmel, Tiffany & Co., and other brands, and has even appeared in a Marilyn Manson film called Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll, in which she plays Alice. She was also accepted into King’s College at Cambridge in 2007 and began studying art history there in 2008.
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