Find the Best Online University for You

Search our online university rankings and ratings below in order to select the best online university for your needs, then use the links to request a free information packet from that school:


University of Phoenix – The most recognized online university, UofP offers a respected accredited degree for almost every career goal.


Ashford University – The best online university for working adults looking for career advancement and affordability. Baker offers many scholarships for working adults.


AIU Online – Regarded as the most prestigious online university due to its job placement statistics, AIU is a top choice for working adults.


Liberty University – The best online university for Christian students. Liberty brings Christian values and a respected name to become one of the best online universities for Christian students.


Everest University – Best online university for working adults. Most flexible class schedules and numerous credits offered for previous work-experience.


Saint Leo University – At Saint Leo University, students are able to earn an accredited degree at their own pace and schedule. They offer faculty members to assist students in the financial aid process as well as helping students throughout the entire application process.


Kaplan University – Kaplan University online is the leading national online university, offering a large number of associates, bachelors, and masters degrees.


Colorado Technical University – With an excellent national academic reputation, CTU has become the best online university for students who want to dramatically improve their resume.


Devry University – The US's oldest online university, Devry is the best online university for taking dual online and campus classes, as has campuses throughout the country.


Virginia CollegeAssociate's, Bachelor's & Master's Degrees. Virginia College's courses are taught by industry professionals with significant knowledge in their area of expertise. Students could expect to gain up-to-date education that could apply to their careers upon graduation.


Strayer University – Strayer's reputation in the job market for producing talented students makes it a leader for job-oriented students.


Grand Canyon University – Students looking for the same superior education as brick-and-mortar schools will find it at Grand Canyon University, where students can obtain a quality education completely online. Their courses are taught by industry professionals who have exceptional knowledge in their area of expertise, and are available for individual attention through the university's online portal.

15 Alternatives to USNews’ Law School Rankings

Law school rankings generate a lot of interest and usually serve as excellent reference points for determining which law school is right for you. For the most part the ranking systems use surveys and published records regarding the schools amenities and standards for generating the lists.

The most popular law school ranking system can be found in US News & World Reports magazine’s annual "Top Graduate School" list. However if you’re basing your opinions on law schools solely on that list, you’re selling your opportunities short. Before deciding which law school is right for you, you should check out the following 15 alternatives to US News & World Reports list.

1. Cooley/ Brennan Rankings
The first edition of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s rankings, called "Judging the Law Schools" was published in 1996. This online publication, now in its seventh edition, goes as far as measuring obscure items such as library square footage and number of minority students. These rankings are designed to analyze the educational effectiveness of American law schools. In contrast to the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking methodology, each factor is given equal weight.

2. The Princeton Review’s Best 170 Law Schools
This website maintains 11 ranking lists based on various parameters. However, the website fails to maintain an overall generalized ranking system. This means you may have to go through 11 different lists ranging from ‘toughest to get into’ to ‘most welcoming of older students’ before you are able to generate a list of the schools that can best help you achieve your goals. You must register (for free) with the website in order to access the rankings.

3. The Consus Group Composite Rankings
This system ranks 100 law school programs based upon published rankings, selectivity, salary, success of the schools graduates, and the percentage of admitted candidates that matriculate to the admitting university. The site also features additional ranking systems based exclusively on published and selectivity data.

4. Internet Legal Resource Guide’s (ILRG) Law School Rankings
You really don’t need to check any other rankings once you’ve gone through ILRG’s humungous ranking lists. The rankings are based on a single factor and the methodology is implicit in the ranking (not to mention the data source is explained in detail on the main page). And to top it off, the data used is always from the schools’ most current records. The site offers various single factor rankings of law schools including employment rate at graduation, median salary and student/faculty ratio to name a few.

5. Cost-Benefit Analysis of American Law Schools
This is another type of ranking from Internet Legal Resource Guide’s (ILRG). This system re-ranks the top 50 law schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report in terms of cost-of-living adjusted median salary. We recommend you use this as purely a reference point and not a conclusive guide because the data is fairly out-dated.

6. Leiter’s Law School Rankings
Also known as Educational Quality Rankings (EQR), this ranking system is published by Brian Leiter, a professor at the University of Texas law school. The ranking system focuses exclusively on the three factors central to a good legal education: the quality of the faculty, the quality of the student body, and the quality of teaching. This site is extremely informative thanks to the rigorous discussion of the criteria used, detailed listing of schools in various categories, and the inclusion of comparative data from other ranking services.

7. LLM Guide: Master of Laws Programs Worldwide
This site uses popularity rankings based on the number of hits/views to a law school program’s website from the LLM Guide website. The site also contains a directory of other websites containing national and international law school program rankings.

8. The Study of Philosophy in Law Schools and Top Law Schools for Philosophy
This is a ranking system with a twist – it is intended for students interested in the philosophical study of law. This site is a part of Brian Leiter’s Philosophical Gourmet Report which ranks graduate programs in philosophy. The content includes descriptions of the top rated schools and links to lists of specialty rankings for law schools including legal philosophy, tax law, health law, and many others.

9. Top Law Schools: Rankings
The first thing you notice is that this ranking system doesn’t have a methodology of its own. Instead it consolidates rankings from U.S. News & World Report, Gourman Report, Educational Quality Rankings, Insider’s Guide to Law Schools and Justice Brennan rankings. Despite this, the site is very useful for comparing the variety of ranking outcomes for a particular academic program.

10. Gourman Report
While the US News’ survey is the most popular ranking system today, it was not the first. For that, you’ll have to check the Gourman Report. Dr. Jack Gourman, a professor at California State University – Northridge, is credited with being the person to rank US law schools. His system, The Gourman Report (a print book published by Princeton Review) ranks both undergraduate and graduates schools. The last edition to include law school rankings was published in 1997.

11. Hylton Rankings
The Hylton Rankings are the brainchild of Dr. J. Gordon Hylton of Marquette University’s Law School. The rankings are derived from US News data, but lack "clutter." The rankings consider only LSAT (converted median) and peer assessment (as measured by US News’ survey of law professors).

12. Law School 100
The Law School 100 lists America’s top law schools and provides a secondary list of the additional ABA-Approved schools not mentioned in the top 100. This list is supposed to be based on qualitative, rather than quantitative, criteria; however, the website isn’t regularly updated and fails to mention the methodology used for compiling the list.

13. The Insider’s Guide to Law School
This annual publication ranks the top 25 law schools. It also provides valuable information on admission tips and campus life.

14. The ABA Guide
The bar association and the admissions council does not subscribe to the ranking system and vehemently denounce all rankings. The website of the American Bar Association offers an interactive website that helps students sort and evaluate different law schools using criteria like employment rates after graduation, bar passage rate, size of faculty, student body breakdown and tuition. The site includes descriptions, photographs and admissions profiles for all A.B.A. approved law schools.

15. The Ranking Game
Created by a professor at the Indiana University School of Law, this site serves as both a ranking service and an educational tool. The actual "Ranking Game" component of the page is a Java applet which allows you to create your own law school rankings based on various criteria. The site emphasizes the use and abuse of rankings using links to a variety of pages that detail the dangers of ranking systems.

Top Online Degree Rankings : Search Top Online Degrees

Below you will find the 10 top online degree programs for the year 2009. To request information directly from the schools you are interested in, use the “More Info” buttons below:

Kaplan University
With dozens of top online degree programs, Kaplan University offers a nationally accredited online degree for almost every career goal.
University of Phoenix
The most recognized online university, the University of Phoenix offers a wide variety of highly ranked top online degrees.
Baker College Online
With some of the best ranked associates and bachelors programs, Baker College offers the top online degree program for working adults looking for an affordable and flexible school.
Liberty University
The top online degree program for Christian students, Liberty combines Christian values and strong academics to consistently offer top online degrees for students.
AIU Online
The most prestigious online college due to its graduation employment rates, AIU offers top online degrees for students looking for fast career advancement.
Capella University -
With some of the best professors in the nation, Capella offers the top online degree for education students who already have masters degrees.

Search Online Degrees

10 Big Ways Bill Gates Wants to Change Education

Bill and Melinda Gates put a hefty portion of their billions into philanthropic efforts involving development, healthcare, and – of course – education. The foundation that bears their name sponsors a number of amazing opportunities for impoverished or otherwise marginalized individuals to thrive academically and vocationally, whether they be accessible inside the walls of a classroom or a library. Here are at least 10 of their current projects and strategies that they have in place to ensure that more students across the world obtain the education they need in order to thrive and help build and reinforce their communities.

1. Sponsoring Thrive by Five : Along with many other private and public institutions alike, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Microsoft Corporation work in tandem with Washington State’s Thrive by Five program. Bill Gates even once served as the chair of the board of directors. This nonprofit strives to provide the best possible early learning opportunities for children before entering into kindergarten. Among their myriad projects intended to stimulate small children and grant them with a head start in their education are numerous statewide initiatives that promote and encourage learning at home and libraries as well as in recommended institutions, the building of standardized, efficient models for schools to follow, and nurture partnerships with sponsors and other schools that maximize everyone’s educational potential. Their website outlines 3 extremely specific and altruistic goals that all of their projects follow – “Help create the environment to support early learning and positive child development,” “Make effective early learning programs more available,” and “Be a voice for and assist in building early learning systems.” No matter what service the citizenry takes advantage of, they are met with ideals painstakingly constructed to offer Washington’s youth a fantastic beginning to the schooling that will last them a lifetime.

2. Calling for Financial Aid Reform : Almost anyone who has ever had to deal with the Financial Aid system will freely discuss the various migraines associated with applying, receiving, and paying off their loans. Much of the research they site paints a grim portrait of postsecondary education in America, with at least 7 major points of financial concern for low-income students. Because of these factors, those from a lower socioeconomic bracket drop out of higher education at a much higher rate than their comparatively more fiscally stable contemporaries. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation refers to the current Financial Aid situation as “antiquated and needlessly complex,” and because of this they are utilizing their considerable resources to find a way to streamline the system so that it runs smoothly and allows more lower income students to graduate from college. One such measure the Foundation is currently undertaking involves providing grants to help defray some of the cost of an education. They are also researching the effectiveness of incentives and other means of encouraging financially-strapped students to stay in school instead of dropping out due to monetary concerns. Such reforms are targeted specifically to those struggling in Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington, but will hopefully grow to encompass all Americans in due time.

3. Providing Access to State-of-the-Art Technology : Computers, their peripherals, and the internet all open up numerous educational opportunities for students of all ages. Many institutes of higher learning now offer courses – even entire degrees – online as a cheaper, more convenient alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar campuses. Using the aforementioned research regarding the high rate of low-income students dropping out of college or university prior to graduating, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to offer grants to purchase technology that encourages financially struggling students to work on their classes and diplomas in a manner that dovetails nicely with their frequently harried schedules without cutting too deeply into their bank accounts. Adaptive software, cutting-edge technologies, digital video, open content, online delivery, and data systems comprise the majority of their focus, as they believe that these form the very core of an education supplemented by the ever-expanding computer industry. At the moment, they are currently testing the myriad ways in which access to the best possible technology encourages students to remain in school and complete their degrees through online courses that work in tandem with their lifestyle needs, trying to find the strategies that work best for everyone involved.

4. Promoting Flexible Postsecondary Education : Even college and university students who do not grapple against financial difficulties still face issues with scheduling their classes. Some still have to contend with full-time jobs and families in addition to an education, feeling stressed and forced to execute a delicate balancing act. The strain only elevates once fiscal concerns and Financial Aid issues begin creeping their way into the equation – and first-generation or low-income college students have it the worst of any demographic. Because The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believes that education is a right as opposed to a privilege, it seeks to find methods of schooling that provide a great deal of flexibility without sacrificing quality. They are currently working with a number of different state institutions to formulate strategies that provide numerous opportunities without the complete hassle of stopping and starting for multiple semesters to take care of vocational or filial obligations. Accelerated programs and improved programs may both hold the key to providing a valuable education for those trying to study within strict time and/or financial constraints, and at the moment these initiatives are in place as a means of figuring out what works and what does not.

5. Building and Promoting Libraries Worldwide : The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in conjunction with 10 different countries across the globe, is working to build state-of-the-art libraries with books and computer terminals alike in areas that sorely need them. Education extends far beyond classroom walls, and providing impoverished communities with all the necessary and updated resources needed to supplement and support former schooling. They also engage adults seeking further understanding of the world around them as well – and at no added cost, either. Current projects involve hooking up free internet access in libraries around the United States before moving on to Vietnam, Chile, Mexico, Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Botswana, Ukraine, and Romania in later phases. With 40% of Americans unable to access the internet at home, this undertaking opens up numerous vocational and educational doors to a marginalized but still expansive minority – allowing them to apply for better jobs, attend classes, and explore the world in a way that expands their horizons and helps improve their quality of life. The process works closely with each individual library to ensure that all the needs of the surrounding community are met rather than adhering to one strict universal blueprint.

6. Providing a Multitude of Grants : Grants form one of the cornerstones of the social justice projects instigated or supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and they take a 4-part approach to giving them out in 3 separate but interlocking areas. Each of the 4 stages – “Develop Strategy,” “Make Grants,” “Measure Progress,” “and Adjust Strategy” – were created by the Gateses and their colleague Warren Buffett to specifically lead into one another in a cycle rather than a straight linear path. They hope to observe their grants in action to see what works, what does not, and what may need some retooling in order to bolster efficiency and maximize the amount of people being helped. Working with a blind eye turned to national or cultural borders, grants go not only towards educational opportunities such as financial aid, libraries, scholarships, technology, and – of course – schools, these grants also help develop struggling nations (and impoverished sections of wealthy ones), address homelessness and poverty issues, and provide immunizations and treatment for a number of curable and preventable illnesses that many individuals and families sadly cannot afford. Others are set aside to assist in times of national or international emergency, and on a smaller scale the Gateses also financially nurture communities in the Pacific Northwest region they call home.

7. Intensive Partnerships : Intensive partnerships involve a level of commitment far beyond the traditional variety, as one can probably assume. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has worked with a multitude of schools, libraries, and other institutions to organize and mobilize against social and educational issues alike. Memphis City Schools and the associated governing bodies, for example, received a $90 million investment to improve the lives of both the students and the surrounding community. The money addresses different problems that arise from life in a poverty-stricken region by nurturing the schools by improving their Advanced Placement programs, measuring and implementing effective teaching strategies, providing better rewards and incentives for educators, and working directly within the school environments themselves to begin dissolving potentially harmful cultural elements. Similar programs have been put in place in Hillsborough County, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles as well. Ultimately, these programs hope to motivate students towards success in a postsecondary institution and eventually landing a rewarding, satisfying career. Doing so holds the potential to significantly increase the number of degrees conferred in the United States, a number which has been wavered little since the 1970s.

8. Access to Learning Award: Incentives lead to a much greater motivation for individuals and corporations to work harder towards accomplishing a preset goal. Awards, bonuses, benefits, and other gifts stand as entirely win-win situations for all parties involved, and because of them students across the world have far more opportunities with far more qualified teachers and better technology than they otherwise would with their own occasionally meager resources. The Access to Learning Award is given through the Global Libraries portion of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a means of bolstering faith in and rewarding the libraries who foster education in their communities through books, programs, and internet access. Past recipients span the globe from a library in a small, isolated village in Australia to one bringing computers and the internet to Veracruz. Qualified institutions have to adhere to certain criteria before receiving the $1 million prize. Unfortunately, many scams have taken to using the Access to Learning Award as a cover for their shady activities, so the Foundation provides extremely valuable information on how to avoid falling victim to their scheming.

9. Providing a Multitude of Scholarships : In addition to their broad variety of grants and awards, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also offers up over 27,000 scholarships for high school students from low-income families. This reinforces this belief that anyone who desires to attend college and earn a degree should not be prevented from doing so. While most of the money goes towards American students and institutions of higher learning, much of it also funds the projects and prospects of internationals hoping to study within disciplines that will help to build and sustain their communities back home. Some of the scholarships, for example, are available for Cambridge University, aspiring law students, University of Washington, and African women interested in a career in agriculture. Graduate and undergraduate levels are all available for those who qualify by meeting certain income and academic standards. There is even one meant for promising fifth graders, teaching them the leadership and academic skills that will help them succeed in an institute of higher learning years later.

10. Sponsoring the Native Lens Program : The nonprofit Native Lens Program and its affiliate Longhouse Media serve two extremely valuable purposes. First, they provide Native American youths with all the tools they need to plan and produce films that blend together traditional cultural and storytelling elements and modern perspectives and ideas. Second, it also provides a glimpse into the inner workings one of the most consistently overlooked and marginalized minorities in the United States, allowing others to see how these communities have to grapple against watching their culture deteriorate thanks to external oppression. Longhouse Media extends beyond the filmmaking element, striving to nurture creativity in all the Native American arts and crafts so that they do not become lost to the ebbs and flows of time. Both have attained considerable success and progress with their goals, having participated in a multitude of film festivals and enjoying recognition by PBS, Sherman Alexie, and other respectable media and creative figures.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation values education as a right afforded to anyone who seeks it rather than a privilege only for those who can pay for degrees an expensive college or university. Because of this, they provide millions of dollars worth of funding to schools and libraries alike as a means of nurturing a love of learning without cutting too deeply into pocketbooks. Doing so not only helps build up individuals, but provides them with all the tools they need to better their communities as well.

60 Insider Secrets to College Admissions

Few people will argue that applying to colleges and universities around the world is an easy, painless, and ego-boosting experience. Fortunately, there are enough resources available both online and through high schools and institutions of higher learning to help provide some semblance of stress reduction and structure to a frenzied, occasionally soul-crushing process. Take advantage of these tips and tricks from experts and expert researchers alike as a means of approaching the college application process with a clearer head and more responsible, positive outlook. Be sure to seek out lessons from teachers, guidance counselors, parents, and administrators in addition to the numerous helpful resources available online that have not been listed here. Putting forth the effort makes for one of the best investments in the future that a student can make.

Vanderbilt University’s Douglas Christiansen – “Getting Into College: An Insider’s Guide”

1. It isn’t always about academics.

Vanderbilt University’s Dean of Admissions Douglas Christiansen also wants to see how active students are in their communities, schools, and extracurricular activities as well. He also emphasizes the amount of quality time spent in clubs and other pursuits as opposed to a long listing.

2. They want passion and drive.

Students need to be able to display a degree of passion for some sort of cause or activity, as doing so proves dedication and initiative. They do not discriminate based on choice of activity and want to see that some difference has been made.

3. The number of available opportunities is taken into consideration.

Extracirricular activities are held in great esteem, but some high schools may not have the resources to offer too many. Admissions administrators understand this discrepancy and weigh students’ qualifications accordingly.

4. Admissions essays need to be personable.

Grammar and structure are very important elements of a college admissions essay, but they look more closely at its honesty. They check it against letters of recommendation and other factors in order to make sure the student actually wrote the paper.

5. “Balance vs. Risk”

Colleges want to see that a student has challenged him- or herself by taking AP classes and other advanced academics, but they also want to see good grades as well. In order to avoid burning out or failing through overload, try and seek the best balance between seeking out challenges and obtaining scholarly achievements – this is what schools look for over one or the other.

6. Admissions boards keep profiles of different high schools.

There is no need for students to bend over backwards explaining what sorts of opportunities may or may not be available at their high schools. Most colleges keep a profile of private and public institutions alike that updates them on the curriculum, distributions, offerings, competitiveness, and other very important factors.

7. Students can get a good education almost anywhere.

In order to alleviate some of the anxieties associated with the college admissions process, Dean Christiansen points out that pretty much any institution of higher learning in the United States will still yield a world-class education. Do not fret over prestige – focus more attention on finding the best fit.

8. Keep a list of desired colleges private.

Opening up too much about how many and what schools have received applications so far only adds extra pressure to students. When too many peers and authority figures become invested in the process, too many earnest questions about progress and success crop up – and if the answer is negative, it only causes the student to feel more stress.

9. SAT scores matter…

…but they aren’t everything. As Dean Christiansen notes, because SAT tests are only a one-day event, an entire college admissions packet cannot hinge on it alone. The schools need them. The schools want them. But they know standardized tests aren’t the be-all, end-all of academia, either.

10. Don’t get too emotionally caught up.

A student’s self-esteem should not become wrapped up entirely on his or her successes or failures when it comes to the college admissions process. Pre-suicidal and suicidal thoughts and activities sadly crop up all too often when a student receives a rejection notice. It is heavily advises to try and create a healthy degree of emotional distance between a college application and one’s sense of self.

11. Fill out Financial Aid forms.

Alleviate some of the stresses regarding qualification for Financial Aid and apply for it anyways. Most people will be surprised to find out how much they can get to help them pay for college.

12. Financial Aid doesn’t just come from the government.

Even if the feds do not want to pay up for a college education, most institutions offer their own grant and loan programs with completely different standards for qualification. Be sure to apply for these as well.

13. Private colleges may not always cost more than public.

Depending on any scholarships, grants, waivers, Financial Aid, and other factors, some private colleges may actually end up costing a student the same as or less than their public counterparts. There is no universal answer, however, as circumstances shift from student to student.

14. Territory managers usually read through applications first.

The college admissions process does not hinge on one administrator alone, and most colleges – not just Vanderbilt – stick with a standard matrix to decide what applicants would and would not fit. The details change from college to college, however, but the first to read through is usually someone who has previously visited and recruited from the student’s high school.

15. Then a second reader comes in.

After the territory manager completes a run-through and makes notes, a second reader will come in to offer another opinion. Both administrators should be in agreement about the student before moving his or her admissions packet to the next step.

16. Then it moves to a senior staff member.

Also known as a Sign Off Officer, this individual approves or disapproves of the first two readers’ suggestions and furthers the decision from there.

17. Approved applications do get held.

Just because 3 members of the admissions board approve of a student’s application, this does not mean that the acceptance letter will be sent right away. Most schools just wait until all mailings have been received and analyzed before shipping out notices. Knowing this should quell some of the anxieties students face as they pine away and try to analyze why they must tarry so long to hear a response.

18. Territory officers do advocate for students.

Some applications are absolutely approved, some absolutely denied. But the majority end up in a “maybe” pile for various reasons. Held in limbo, these information packets are then supported by the officers assigned to each region in front of a council of 3. Even if they are not there to see it, there is almost always somebody going to bat for every student’s acceptance.

19. Give deep thought to letters of recommendation.

Having a teacher, librarian, administrator, boss, coach, or other authority figure with whom a deep rapport has been established write up letters of recommendation is the most prudent route to take. College admissions officers seriously want to see their take on how a student has grown over the years rather than a generic listing of their positive traits, so be sure to choose wisely.

20. Know the school.

Colleges and universities absolutely want to see that students have invested their time researching the schools they apply to, as this shows a genuine investment in their own future rather than seeking acceptance for the sole purpose of having somewhere to go. Attend as many functions as possible and make an effort to communicate with the faculty and staff to foster familiarity and understand the school’s goals and culture.

21. Print out applications a year or two in advance.

Dean Christiansen recommends that sophomores and juniors in high school visit the websites of schools they deem worth pursuing and print out a copy of the application form. While they should use the latest version when the time comes to actually submit, the earlier forms serve as an excellent, handy resource for them to consult when it comes to making decisions about activities and academics alike.

22. Be real.

Apply to a school that genuinely inspires enthusiasm and interest. Admissions administrators can tell if a student appears halfhearted and disinterested, especially when they forget to edit the Word document and accidentally leave in the name of another school!

“Ask the Dean” at College Confidential

23. Thank those who wrote letters of recommendation.

Although it is not a requirement to formally thank teachers, coaches, bosses, clergy, and others who pen letters of recommendation for a student, it is always a good idea to extend the courtesy. Cards containing a personal note of gratitude suffice, though small and thoughtful gifts may be extended as well. They deserve something for their assistance, no matter how seemingly insignificant it may seem when compared to increasing one’s chances of getting into a college or university.

24. Formulate schedules with a guidance counselor.

While most schools do not want to see a high school student succumb to overexertion, they still want to see applicants with the most challenging schedules they can muster. Meeting with a guidance counselor when it comes time to set up a semester or trimester serves as a valuable tool to helping one achieve his or her collegiate goals. These administrators are extremely familiar with these scenarios and have the resources and training necessary to assist in finding a setup that works.

25. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the interview.

Schools requiring an interview as part of the application process may make special concessions for students in difficult situations, such as living out of state. Make sure to call and speak with an admissions officer to see what degree of flexibility the college is willing to give.

26. When in doubt about a transcript, hold it back for rolling admissions.

If anxieties about grades begin fizzing up, it may be a good idea to wait for an improved transcript when applying to colleges with rolling admissions. Doing so can be dicey, of course, but it will help one’s chances of acceptance if the grades will undoubtedly be better. It is also a wise idea to write the schools and inform them of why they needed to wait for a copy of the transcript.

27. Colleges can ask for deposits before their application deadlines.

Though it may be a practice that heaps additional stress onto a student, some schools can and do request a deposit before application deadlines. Intended to gauge how much interest their candidates actually hold, the schools nevertheless are required to give the money back should the individuals in question decide not to attend.

28. Explain every incomplete in detail.

Incompletes happen. Deaths in the family, prolonged illness, and other factors sometimes prevent otherwise active and competent students from fulfilling the requirements of a course. Should one appear on a transcript, it is vital to explain circumstances to the school. A guidance counselor really ought to help with this to add veracity to the claims, but students can (and should) send their own claims as well.

29. Donations and activism may not always pay off.

Parents who make donations to colleges and universities may only end up with a negligible increase in their child’s acceptance – barring, of course, instances where a rather portly sum of money changes hands. Volunteer work actually carries more weight than financial assistance, but even then legacy will still not fill in any potential holes in an application.

30. Send improved standardized test scores at any point.

Even if they yield positive results, some students re-take the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests to see if they can do even better. Should these new-and-improved numbers happen to fall after a college’s stated deadline, a guidance counselor can still contact schools and give the admissions office updated information. Many institutions understand this odd situation and will make allowances, though others may not. Ultimately, it is there decision – but there is no harm in making an honest effort to let them know.

31. Bouncing from school to school isn’t as detrimental as one would think.

Some students who have had to move from high school to high school may panic over what colleges may think of their erratic experiences. Unless said transfers involved serious scholastic or behavioral problems, many admissions administrators may actually view this as a very positive mark of adaptability and resourcefulness – most especially if the individual attempted to continue his or her activities after a switch. Generally, the worst result involves trying to explain any possible transcript problems that crop up. Which, of course, students are very much advised to do.

32. Take action when application pieces appear missing.

No matter how much time an applicant takes to ensure his or her admissions packet is completed to a school’s exacting specifications, it is still entirely possible that part of it gets misplaced after reaching its destination. Maintain a cool head and speak respectfully to an administrator regarding the situation. Should it prove to be an item the student has little control over sending – such as a transcript or a letter of recommendation – make sure to (nicely!) inquire those in charge of them about any possible hiccups on their end.

Karen Stabiner at The Huffington Post

33. Ditch the prep courses.

Shelling out hundreds of dollars for a standardized testing preparation class may not actually prove worth it in the end. Karen Stabiner points out far cheaper methods of boosting a student’s academic skills that can possibly yield similar results.

34. Early application is dicey.

According to the article, around 25% of most incoming classes is comprised of early applicants. Depending on one’s qualifications, however, the chances of acceptance may or may not improve by taking this route. It may seem like an attractive option at first, but extremely careful consideration must go into deciding whether or not to apply early.

35. Write to Financial Aid about special circumstances.

When it comes time to fill out Financial Aid forms, some students who have to tuck away money because of health reasons or dependents or any other mitigating circumstance may appear unqualified on paper. Do not be afraid to write a letter about the situation at hand and clearly explain why Financial Aid is sorely needed in spite of what the forms say. It is surprising how many allowances the system can make for those who truly need the money.

36. Keep a few basic writing tips in mind when writing the essay.

Karen Stabiner advises parents to take a back seat when it comes time for their kids to write out the admissions essay, lest they exert too much influence and compromise the authenticity. She does, however, point out a couple of basic grammar and stylistic tips and tricks that they can look for when it comes time to proofread – some that the students themselves ought to keep in mind as well. Avoid using a passive voice, learn the difference between “its” and “it’s,” and allot only one adjective per verb are a few things to watch out for when firing off a formal essay.

37. Tour, tour, tour!…Somehow!

Colleges can gauge seriousness based on whether or not a student made an effort to explore the campus and decide how well it meets their needs. But there is no reason to panic or feel compromised in situations that require expensive travel or other circumstances that prevent setting up a visit. Many schools offer virtual tours on their websites, and some third-party services offer up DVD versions of multiple institutions as well. In addition, applicants who take the initiative to contact and establish a rapport with faculty and staff members through e-mail or phone calls can also show off how seriously they take the admissions process without having to shell out the money to visit in person.

38. Know the different applications.

Some colleges and universities require the Common Application. Others prefer the Universal Application. In spite of the fact that the two share a multitude of similarities, many schools will absolutely not accept one if they prefer the other. Make absolutely certain to double- and triple-check before submitting the paperwork (or, as is more common these days, virtual paperwork) to ensure compliance with the preferred application.

39. Stay active once the application process is over.

Waiting on a positive or negative response from a college or university can prove absolutely agonizing – especially if some unexpected potential problems crop up after the fact. In order to quell some of the anxiety and pressure, it pays to try and become immersed in hobbies and other activities until the acceptance or rejection letter pops up in the mail. Remaining passive only serves to further stoke the stress.

40. Consider Adaptster

iPhone users can pay $17.99 for the Adaptster application as a means of accessing standardized test preparation at any point in time. The Adaptster Flex sells smaller question blocks for 99¢, targeting those with less money or less need for the fuller version. But those without access to Apple technology have little to fear – applications for other smart phones as well as web-based tutorials (offered between $10 and $15) are on the way.

41. It’s not all about the Ivy Leagues.

Ivy League colleges and universities may provide students with an excellent education – but they are not the right fit for everyone who submits a qualifying application. Everyone focuses their attention on prestige, but this mindset usually proves disheartening in the long run. The truth is, high school students have a much higher chance of finding an institution of higher learning that meets their needs if they apply to a broad spectrum of schools. Keeping an open mind and understanding that a good education can be found anywhere (yes, even community colleges!) is the key to finding relaxation and satisfaction.

42. “Senioritis,” when kept in check, is mostly harmless.

High school seniors in their last semester undoubtedly want to kick back and enjoy themselves before having to walk across the stage in a silly mortarboard hat. This is natural, even helpful, for their overall sense of happiness and well-being. But, as in all things, they need to remain responsible for their actions. Because most schools want a final transcript, noses do need to stay at the grindstone. And it goes without saying that behavioral or legal trouble needs avoiding at all costs. However, there is no harm in allowing a senior a bit of fun or placing any further pressure for him or her to make valedictorian, either. Find a workable balance. Hard-working and dedicated kids have certainly earned it.

43. Public schools send notifications earlier.

Although this article focuses on controversies regarding University of California’s skyrocketing tuition rates, Karen Stabiner does bury one nugget of advice in amongst the chaos. Public schools generally send out their acceptance or rejection letters before the private. So students fretting over the reasons why one school has gotten back with them over another ought to keep this in mind as they scurry to and through the mailbox.

44. Rejection is not a poor reflection on the student.

As Karen Stabiner mentions, students who receive rejection notices from a college or university usually pass through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief. This is natural, of course, but they need to understand that being turned down does not necessarily mean that they are undesirable. It merely means that the institution did not deem them a snug enough fit for the community they are trying to compile and speaks little of their personal or academic value. The rejected should be allowed to grieve, but parents should make an effort to let them know that the reality isn’t intending to slice away at their self-esteem.

The Princeton Review

45. Always have a safety school.

They may not always be a student’s first choice, but safety schools are kind of a necessity when it comes to the college admissions process. Whether for academic or financial reasons, applying to schools that are (almost!) guaranteed helps ensure that college-bound high schoolers have an educational future ahead of them. Even if their preferred schools ship out rejection letters, they will have the security of knowing that there is somewhere to go when fall (or spring!) rolls around.

46. Essays should be reflective.

In order to show colleges that they are engaged citizens capable of growth, applicants should use their essays as a means of looking inward and sharing their experiences – not merely talking about them. Likewise, humor can always help boost one’s chances with certain administrators. However, as taste is subjective, this must also be carefully executed so as not to offend, come off as immature, or lower one’s chances of acceptance.

47. Write to a school who waitlists.

Should a student find him- or herself waitlisted at a college or university that they absolutely, passionately want to attend, it is a good idea to write them a very detailed letter of intention. Tell them that, should they accept an application, enrollment will follow. Be sure to maintain competitive grades and stay active in extracurricular projects. Guarantee these statements and request that they be added to a file so they know the exact level of dedication. It may even be a good idea to volunteer for an interview. This effort could very well mean the difference between acceptance and rejection.

48. Remain realistic about waitlists.

Regardless of the initiative some high schoolers put forth to make themselves more attractive to schools who waitlist them, they may end up rejected all the same. It is important in these admittedly stressful situations to maintain a realistic outlook – and if it comes down to the wire, some students may have to commit to a different college than the one they would prefer.

49. Trying again may not be a good idea…

Some students who do not get into their first choice of schools may decide to take a semester or year off before applying again. This is inadvisable, as they run the risk of perpetual rejection that only pushes back their education. Instead, they should attend a school that does want them for at least a few semesters. Earning excellent grades and remaining active in the academic and/or surrounding community may open up opportunities for them to try and apply as transfer students instead.

50. Make an effort to understand common essay questions.

Although some colleges throw their applicants a curveball when it comes to an essay topic, most end up sticking with a few tried-and-true prompts. Before tackling admissions packets, put forth the time and thought to become familiar with some of the more common ones out there. It definitely helps to approach them with at least some idea of what to write ahead of time.

51. Turn schools down politely.

No matter how many schools fill a mailbox with acceptance letters, students can only attend one of the colleges. Always stay polite when rejecting the schools that did not make the cut for whatever reason, especially if a rapport with any administrators cropped up along the way. If the selected institution does not prove a worthwhile fit in the long run, they may very well provide better opportunities down the line. Do not burn any bridges by acting callously.

52. Thank everyone.

Not only do adults who penned letters of recommendation require thanking, but everyone else – parents, guidance counselors, admissions officers, administrators, and others – deserves a bit of recognition as well. It does not have to come in the form of a card or a gift, of course, but make an earnest effort to let them know how much their assistance and support truly means.

53. Know the difference between early decision and early action.

The Princeton Review heavily recommends understanding exactly what early decision and early action offerings entail. Students accepted through early decision do end up obligated to the institution. Early action, on the other hand, affords a much greater degree of flexibility and does not require applicants to enroll afterwards. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, so the college bound really do need to dedicate serious thought to which one fits their needs best.

54. There is no shame in deferring enrollment.

College students at all levels sometimes find themselves in the prickly situation of having to push back their enrollment for any number of reasons. This does not deplete their status or reputation with the institution, nor does it make them any less of a student. Make sure to completely understand exactly how the process works, as it does vary from college to college. Doing so is especially important for incoming freshmen.

55. Keep a few things in mind when e-mailing colleges.

As this article by The Princeton Review illustrates, there are a couple of different elements one must consider when e-mailing an administrator or faculty member at a desired school. Potential applicants especially ought to keep these tips – which include staying succinct and listing contact information – on their mind.

56. Colleges prioritize based on graduation year.

Juniors who contact colleges will likely have to wait for them to get back with them once all seniors have been taken addressed. The same goes for sophomores, who must contend with both juniors and seniors – and so on. Admissions officials and other administrators must contend with a very high volume of mail every day, so do not take their silence as a sign of disinterest or rudeness. They just typically prioritize with preference towards those closer to their graduation date. Always practice patience and respond politely in these situations.

57. Freshmen – feel no fear!

Making the transition to high school carries with it a number of unique stresses and anxieties. While the more driven freshmen may waltz right in with college on the brain, it is a better idea to prioritize and focus more on the new layout and experiences than the future. However, The Princeton Review does offer an excellent and comprehensive guide to a few things that first-year high schoolers can think about when it comes to making an investment in the college applications that will come crashing down 3 years later.

58. Sophomores – start off slowly!

Once 10th grade begins, students already know what to expect in high school, allowing them to focus some of that energy on thinking about what colleges and degree plans appeal to them. This is not a time to be formulating anything definitive or huge, but it is a good idea to begin making a few preparations to help alleviate the strain from the junior and senior years. As with freshmen (and other class levels), The Princeton Review provides a handy, flexible schedule of what to do and when to do it.

59. Juniors – JOLT!!

While the senior year marks the final round of the application process, juniors face the roughest go. 11th grade is an excellent time to begin college visits, take the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests for the first time, buckling down on grades, volunteering, sticking with extracurricular activities, establishing connections with important people, and more. It is a busy, stressful time in the future college student’s career – but ultimately rewarding. Be sure to explore The Princeton Review’s suggestions for juniors in order to gain a much more detailed perspective on their recommendations for juniors.

60. Seniors – stand up!

Senior year should build upon the foundation established from the freshman through junior levels, though generally with less anxiety than 11th grade. As graduation crawls closer and closer, it is a good idea to begin writing essays, submitting applications, getting in some last-minute visits, retaking standardized tests, and maintaining those previously established grades, relationships, and extracurricular activities. By this point, it should come as no surprise that The Princeton Review provides an insightful guide to help seniors prioritize and get the job done right.

Beyond these resources, it is a good idea to explore what other experts and insiders have to say about the admissions process. However, the ones listed here nevertheless provide a great framework to help future college and university students relax a little and know almost everything they need to succeed in their applications.

10 Famously Reclusive Authors & Artists

They fascinate and frustrate with their reluctance to give interviews, sign autographs, accept academic honors in person, and other acts that preserve privacy. Creative types blessed with considerable talent who voluntarily fall out of the public eye and skirt the media or find themselves wallowing in obscurity and adapt to the situation at hand by stepping aside pique the imagination of their fans and contemporaries alike. Some occasionally allow themselves the rare modest degree of publicity before returning to a homeostatic private state. Others retreat completely and correspond only in writing. No matter their motivations or preferences, these artists and writers only become more fascinating with the decision to live their lives shunning the overrated trappings of fame, fortune, and glory.

1. J.D. Salinger

Best known as the brilliant mind behind the undeniable classics Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey, Jerome David Salinger began his gradual isolation from public scrutiny shortly after publishing the former – his very first novel – in 1951. Following an interview with the local high school newspaper in Cornish, New Hampshire, the fascinating but troubled author seemed to only regularly associate with the venerable Judge Learned Hand and his family…and even then it seems as if his relationships with the latter experienced heavy strain. He married Claire Douglas in 1955 and had two children with her, Margaret (b. 1955) and Matthew (b. 1960). Douglas dropped out of Radcliffe shortly before her graduation at his insistence, but the pair would come to face numerous hardships. Long stretches of time apart and Salinger’s troubled spiritual journey – which included a quick succession of different faiths and religions in a veritable whirlwind of vastly different beliefs and lifestyles – drove significant emotional wedges between the two. Douglas would even grow jealous of her daughter and how much affection Salinger heaped on her, at one point even planning a murder-suicide to escape him. He took advantage of his reclusive status to warn up-and-coming young female writers of the dangers of fame, subsequently striking up romantic liaisons with them. The most visible and open of these was Yale student and Seventeen writer Joyce Maynard, who dropped out of school to cohabitate with him for a year before his second marriage to a nurse whose engagement he shattered. Salinger died of natural causes on January 27, 2010.

2. Harper Lee

2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Harper Lee wrote the beloved and controversial semi-autobiographical novel To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 – and it remains a bestseller to this day, dissected in high schools and colleges alike as an extremely important work of American literature that shed light on bigoted race relations in the South. Following the novel’s publication, she refused to make any public appearances or grant interviews and published little besides a couple of short essays. Lee would, however, assist her close friend and fellow writer Truman Capote on the research trip to Kansas that would later become his 1966 debut novel In Cold Blood. In spite of her reluctance to open up to the media, Lee still accepted a few awards and honors for her contributions to literature. However, she never made any speeches or addresses, though occasionally she would voice concern in writing on subjects of censorship and the decline of books and reading. Some of the recognition she graciously received includes being named to the National Council of the Arts by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the ATTY Award, the Los Angeles Public Library Award, being inducted in the Alabama Academy of Honor, and the aforementioned Presidential Medal of Freedom. Lee divides her time between New York City and Monroeville, Alabama, seeking privacy and relative anonymity rather than a fully hermitic lifestyle.

3. Bettie Page

Because of her vivacious career as an iconic pin-up model and performance artist, many from the current generation are shocked to find out that the fun and flirty Bettie Page spent decades wallowing in obscurity and reclusiveness. A victim of depression and schizophrenia, she retreated into herself following her meteoric ascent as a famous model, actress, and burlesque dancer that ended abruptly in 1957. Some attribute it to her conversion to Christianity, others to the obscenity trials that branded the erotic photography and videos as offensive material (though most of it would of course be considered PG-13 by today’s standards), still others to her failing mental health. Page would go on to flounder about in numerous Christian organizations and colleges, some of which denied her permission to go on missionary trips due to her divorce. She almost completely retreated from public scrutiny and suffered from a series of erratic marriages until 1979 when she was arrested for assaulting her landlady during a nervous breakdown. The State of California placed Page in a psychiatric hospital for 20 months, but upon her release instigated another altercation which led to an 8-year institutionalizing. It would not be until the 80’s when her popularity began its resurgence, a fact of which she remained unaware during the incarceration. After emerging from the hospital in 1992, completely broke, “The Queen of Pin-Ups” was stunned and pleased by her newly established cult following. While she certainly granted interviews and openly discussed her life, experiences, and philosophies, Page notoriously kept her visage hidden with the belief that she wanted her ardent fans to remember her as she was – though a couple of photographs of the aged performance artist taken before her 2008 death still float about the internet.

4. Henry Darger

Regarded as one of the quintessential examples of outsider art in the United States, Henry Darger existed in complete obscurity in his lifetime due to his highly regimented, isolated lifestyle – nobody even knew of his lofty literary and artistic undertakings until his death in 1973 when landlords Kiyoko and Nathan Lerner discovered the thousands of pages worth of manuscripts, sketches, and watercolors he kept to himself. A menial laborer in a Chicago-area Catholic hospital, from the outside it seemed as if Darger’s life was marked with very little deviation and social activity. He attended daily mass, sometimes multiple times, went to work, and picked interesting bits of trash from the streets for use as illustration references. Darger’s most popular work, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, weighed in at 15,145 pages and featured hundreds of illustrations that underscored the importance of preserving childhood innocence, wonder, and naiveté – a theme that carried on into his 5,084-page autobiography The History of My Life and the more obscure 10,000-page novel Crazy House. Due to his tragic and traumatic past, Darger’s work clung to keeping kids safe and the hope and comfort he found in his devotion to Catholicism. Repeatedly denied the ability to adopt a son or daughter of his own, he sought solace in his creations and served as a sort of spiritual protector of the memory of poor, strangled Elsie Paroubek. He even kept newspaper clippings of her terrible demise around as a reminder of the importance of caring for broken and battered children – more than likely this was due to Darger’s own horrific childhood. His popularity exploded following his death, true to the archetype, and came to inspire numerous other artists (both outsider and traditionally trained), writers, and musicians.

5. Bill Watterson

Creator of the venerable, intelligent comic strip Calvin and Hobbes Bill Watterson is almost as well-known for his unorthodox views on licensing and syndicating his wildly and deservedly popular works as he is the philosophical, adventurous 6-year-old and stuffed tiger companion themselves. The comics served as an appropriate outlet for his perspectives, which range from the highly cynical and misanthropic to the empathically idealistic. Even at an early age, he spent a goodly portion of his time alone in his room, drawing, coloring, and writing comic strips. He spent his career fighting hard for comics to be accepted as a true art form and legitimate means of self-expression rather than disposable kitsch. Watterson’s devotion to the extremely personal and gratifying that formed the central messages of Calvin and Hobbes led to his very punk rock refusal to license the characters for use on merchandise, believing that doing so would compromise his integrity as an artist. Following his 1995 retirement, Watterson has spent most of his time painting and drawing in the company of his father and turning down any and all autographs, public appearances, and appeals to license his iconic characters. At one point, he conceded to sign a couple of books for a local mom-and-pop establishment, but quickly fell back into his strict no-autographs policy upon discovering that they were subsequently sold for exorbitant prices on the internet.

6. Emily Dickinson

Widely regarded for her poetic experimentations in slant rhyming, free verse, punctuation and capitalization, Emily Dickinson only published a handful of her works in her lifetime in spite of writing nearly 1,800. She confined herself to her parents’ home, maintaining a couple of friendships through written correspondence but rarely venturing outside for social interaction. Life, for the unmarried Emily, consisted primarily and satisfactorily of her poetry, keeping house, and gardening, for which she received a gratifying amount of recognition and respect – even compiling her own handy herbarium. She kept close with her family, with a particular love for children, yet almost always declined to participate in any activities requiring travel beyond the house. Though in spite of her reclusiveness, she still reached out to others with kindness and hospitality, sending gifts to loved ones visiting one another as well as long letters and greetings. Her exile seemed to come more from a simple desire to stay at home and keep with her beloved hobbies and comfortable routine rather than the expected misanthropy, mental illness, desire for privacy, or disillusionment with fame and the media. On her rare excursions out, Dickinson would generally clad herself in the white dress that would eventually become her trademark.

7. Terrence Malick

Austin-based filmmaker Terrence Malick has only made one public appearance since launching his career with the short film Lanton Mills in 1969. In 2007, he conceded to a public conversation about the art of making movies at the Rome Film Festival. The extremely respected, Academy Award-nominated director of The Thin Red Line and Badlands has only released 4 feature-length films in his career, with a fifth set for release in 2010 and a possible sixth following that. He famously melted completely away from the fame that 1978’s Days of Heaven earned him, with almost 20 years of his life an absolute blank to public awareness until 1998’s The Thin Red Line. In spite of its nomination for 7 Oscars – none of which it actually won, but they included Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director – he did not show up for the yearly celebration of art and pomposity. Both a Harvard alumni and Rhodes Scholar, the philosophical Malick continues to shy away from the media due to his desire to keep his private life and art to himself instead of out in the open and subject to dissection and scrutiny. By most accounts, he sports a humble and inviting personality that greatly prefers creating his works with minimal distractions and maximum focus. He currently lives with his second wife, Alexandra Wallace.

8. Stanley Kubrick

The idiosyncratic, influential, and highly talented director of the exceptionally respected films The Killing, Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket pioneered a wide number of artistic techniques within his chosen medium – including the Steadicam shot – that pulled from his background in photography. Almost every one of his films, including the oft-criticized Eyes Wide Shut, received nominations or wins for BAFTA Awards, Golden Gloves, and Oscars. A notorious and obsessive perfectionist, Kubrick worked his actors and crew to the bone to ensure the best possible shots and performances. While a project was underway, he would retreat almost completely into isolation to complete it, associating only with his close circle of family (Kubrick was married 3 times) and friends. It is rumored that he would occasionally answer the door masquerading as his own butler in order to inform visitors that the master was away so as to keep away from distractions and prying eyes. Occasionally, Kubrick would acquiesce to an interview request, but skirt around any questions regarding his personal life and rarely acknowledged the media with public appearances. Some of this comes to an aversion to flying, which kept him largely grounded in England for the 40 years prior to his 1999 death. Kubrick’s distaste with the empty elegance of Hollywood also led to many media misconceptions of him as a complete pariah or a misunderstood genius when the reality was – as contemporaries insist – actually neither.

9. Cormac McCarthy

Regarded as one of the greatest living American writers, celebrated author Cormac McCarthy lives in Tesuque, New Mexico with his third wife, Jennifer Winkley, and their son John. He enjoys his privacy and rarely associates with other writers and media figures, though he famously broke this veritable vow of silence for a brief time in 2007. When she rightfully selected 2006’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Road as the rare book actually worth reading amongst her generally insipid Book Club reads (a solid example of how she completely appropriates classics already garnering praise from real literary critics to bolster her own popularity), he agreed to an interview with Oprah Winfrey where he opened up considerably about his writing and closely guarded personal life. However, he has since returned to a comfortable, private existence enjoying time with close friends and family, participating in the local community, and continuing the gritty Western writing that critics and readers so enjoy. So while the man who also penned Suttree, Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, and No Country for Old Men (among others, of course) may not live nearly as remotely as many of the other recluses on this list, he still generally avoids the publicity generally heaped upon such a successful writer in favor of a more down-to-earth lifestyle.

10. Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon approaches his infamous aversion to public appearances with the tongue-in-cheek self-awareness one would expect from one of the most influential and preeminent postmodern novelists. The influential, hilarious, and extremely breakneck author of V, The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Vineland, and Mason & Dixon (and many more) seems to take great delight in the public’s attempt to piece together his definitive location and personal life after having dodged the media for almost 40 years. No pictures of him exist outside of a few from his high school and college years, and any stories of his exploits amongst friends and family remain entirely anecdotal. Even when winning the National Book Award in 1974, Pynchon attended the ceremony via proxy. He always stays two steps ahead of anyone who tries to delve into his past, present, and future with dizzying mockery, continuing to publish novels, essays, and short stories without ever revealing anything at all about himself. Famously, Pynchon satirized himself on The Simpsons, drawn with a bag over his head but still agreeing to record his own dialogue. This appearance marks the first of only two examples of his voice ever captured for posterity, with the second as a teaser for the 2009 novel Inherent Vice.

In many ways, these recluses – most especially those with considerable influence on their respective creative communities – attract far more attention and romantic notions by placing their personal lives just outside the media’s reach. The myths and fantasies of what their talents must be up to behind closed doors only afford them more fame than they likely could have achieved if they laid their lives out for everyone to read.

Peter Pan Professions: 50 Fun Jobs That Don’t Require You to Grow Up

Obviously, every job requires the “grown-up” virtues of hard work, responsibility, and reliability – nobody hoping to forge a life for themselves can expect to remain carefree and childlike their entire lives. Many opportunities advertise themselves as only for the young-at-heart, but such statements are actually on the misleading side. All of them do involve a firm footing in maturity if an individual hopes to succeed and minimize struggle and stress. Regardless, however, few will argue that numerous career paths exist for those who want to enjoy their adulthood by forging a life for themselves out of stereotypic childhood, adolescent, or even collegiate pursuits. They blend personal growth, formal training, and/or education with creativity and “simple pleasures” to create an overall gratifying, fun experience for those who find the possibilities tantalizing.

1. Comic Book Writer or Artist

Yes, comic books are an excellent literary medium for readers of all ages and genre preferences. But admit it. Everyone wants a chance at writing or drawing Batman for a living.

2. Ice Cream Taster

Believe it or not, some people get paid to develop and sample ice cream for a living – usually those with a background in chemistry.

3. Sports Writer

Indulge in the love of a favorite childhood pastime by taking on a job as a sports writer, which understandably favors those with journalism experience.

4. Voiceover Artist

Have fun exercising acting chops and giving life to an animated character (and more!) by considering a career in voiceover work.

5. Video Game Tester

Imagine earning a living wage playing video games for 8 hours a day. Sure it may result in carpal tunnel syndrome after a while, but that is the price to pay to save the world from evil pixels.

6. Camp Counselor or Director

People who love playing outdoors and working with all different types of kids may find the idea of working as a camp counselor or director a rewarding career choice.

7. Roadie

Working as a roadie requires grueling travel, sleepless nights, and plenty of heavy lifting. On the flip side, though, they can indulge their passion for music and creative visuals in a way that desk jockeys cannot even imagine.

8. Model

Anyone with a love of creative outlets such as fashion and photography may want to pursue modeling as a career path. The reality may frequently veer into the frustrating or degrading, but some people love it as a conduit for making art.

9. Bartender

Even when the rowdiness of college dwindles down, people can still enjoy the energetic atmosphere of a bar by taking a position as a bartender and passing down their knowledge to a new generation of alcohol connoisseurs.

10. Personal Stylist

Like the modeling suggestion, kids with an interest in fashion may grow up to entertain the thought of working as a personal stylist who helps people always look their best.

11. Toy Tester

Toy testers test toys. Companies give them prototypes for new products (intended for either kids or pets) and ask them to play around with them and make note of any issues or possible improvements.

12. Food Critic

Kids love food, and what better way to honor one of the very necessities of life than by getting paid to eat almost anything, anywhere, anytime?

13. Card Dealer

Anyone who loved playing cards as a child may enjoy pursuing a career dealing cards at a casino or other gambling establishment.

14. Pet Groomer

Many children who grew up caring for a beloved pet may want to extend their appreciation for warm, fuzzy companionship into a rewarding career beautifying cats, dogs, and other animal friends.

15. Professional Traveler

Indulge a lust for adventure and experience by taking on a job as a professional traveler, usually paired with a writing or journalism position.

16. Carnival or Amusement Park Worker

Working at a carnival or amusement park can be grueling and occasionally dangerous, but many enjoy surrounding themselves with the bustling sights, sounds, and – of course – the shows and rides they loved so much as a kid.

17. Paleontologist

Every job is going to involve some degree of “growing up,” most especially those involving the sciences. Paleontology mixes adult concepts and inquiries with a love of dinosaurs – a very common hobby for many children.

18. Zookeeper

Tending to the needs of zoo animals can be extremely stressful and smelly, but for people who absolutely love working with all kinds of critters might want to consider zookeeping as a worthy career path.

19. Animator

Obviously, not all animation is (or should be!) meant for kids. But those who never grew out of their enjoyment of cartoons and discovered a talent for drawing should look into working in animation.

20. Coach

Anyone who loved sports as a kid but never quite made it to the big leagues may want to apply their passion to coaching another generation of athletes instead – if not the professionals themselves!

21. Lifeguard

In addition to being trained to save drowning victims (which is always an admirable skill), lifeguards get to spend time lounging and catching some sun at the beach or by the pool.

22. Actor or Actress

Adults who never grew out of their need to perform or dress up or pitch fits for attention (Kidding, kidding!) may enjoy the freedom of expression and creativity that acting jobs can potentially afford them.

23. Sex Columnist

Even after the libido slows down, mature adults with plenty of wisdom and experience can stay forever young by dishing out advice on sex.

24. Children’s Librarian

Working as a children’s librarian blends great literature and fun, tactile activities sure to instill a love and appreciation of reading and knowledge.

25. Concert Promoter

Concert promoters get to see all kinds of bands play completely for free – sometimes even getting to hang out with them a bit during and after shows as well.

26. Geologist

As with paleontologists, geologists get to re-live their childhood love of adventure and dirt by examining all the ins and outs of planet Earth.

27. Music Critic

Music critics do actually have to work. It just so happens that their work involves getting paid to receive new music for free and write about what makes it awesome or awful. Many times, their job also requires them to attend concerts for hot established or up-and-coming acts…also for free.

28. Stunt Driver

Stunt driving may be an incredibly dangerous career, but channeling one’s inner Zoe Bell and receiving money to do so make for an amazing adrenaline rush.

29. Candy Maker

Kids who never grew up to stop believing that the candy man can ‘cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good may want to apply their love of the sweet stuff to a neat career whipping up tempting treats for customers to enjoy.

30. Water Slide Tester

As with toys and video games, jobs testing waterslides allow workers to indulge their inner child by splashing around at water parks and resorts while earning a very adult living wage.

31. Astronomer

Like every other job on this list, those pertaining to astronomy still require maturity, responsibility, and extensive education and training. The science allows them to maintain a childlike sense of wonder at the cosmos, though.

32. Fashion/Costume Designer

Anyone who loved drawing, designing, and creating clothing and/or accessories as a kid may thrill at the prospect of working in the fashion or costuming industries.

33. Beer/Wine/Spirits Taster

For those whose livers just never quit after college, a position tasting and critiquing beer, wine, and spirits could prove a lovely vocational fit.

34. Musician

With enough practice and dedication (and a shot of luck), adults who never let go of a childhood dream of singing or playing an instrument can find happiness working as a professional musician.

35. Tech Reviewer

A knack for tinkering and a love of gadgetry opens up doors to careers in reviewing (usually free!) technology for a living.

36. Auto Mechanic

Auto mechanics get to work intimately in and around cars all day, anyone specializing in exotic or luxury vehicles just makes a job that much cooler.

37. Survival Expert

Channel a passion for the outdoors with the satisfaction that comes with being enviably awesome by working hard to become a survival expert – training which one often receives when enlisting in the military.

38. Fighter Pilot

Not everyone possesses the physical prowess or attributes to become fighter pilots, but those who do can land a career that is at once extremely dangerous but still highly exhilarating.

39. Party Planner

Pretty much everyone, young or old, loves a good party, and anyone with a love of organizing and decorating for them will have a great time pursing this creative career.

40. Professional Driver

Beyond NASCAR, professional drivers get to strut their stuff in movies, car commercials, and other venues to enjoy the thrill of pushing a vehicle to its limits.

41. Professional Sleeper

Even though a professional sleeper’s job involves…well…sleeping, they actually provide the valuable service of helping scientists understand how the human body operates and testing mattresses for consumer comfort.

42. Stunt Person

Stunt people enjoy action-packed (but dangerous), adrenaline-fueled jobs that energetic, athletic kids may grow up to consider.

43. Artist

Put that experience scribbling on every available surface to good use by channeling inherent creativity into a career whipping up great works of art.

44. Movie/TV Critic

There is much more to critiquing movies and television shows beyond whether or not they actually entertained – one must also dissect the storytelling devices that did or did not make them effective. All the same, though, it is pretty sweet to get paid to watch movies and television.

45. Teacher

Obviously, one must “grow up” to become a teacher in order to prevent sass-mouth and maintain authority. All the same, though, the career allows for summer and winter vacations and – for those teaching younger age brackets – opportunities to creatively play around a little bit in the classroom.

46. Sex Toy Tester

Sex toy testers rarely have to worry about losing their edge with age, as they constantly get to enjoy the latest and greatest in stimulating technology.

47. Professional Athlete

With a blend of talent and training, kids who excelled in specific sports may want to think about applying their skills to working as a professional athlete.

48. Cartoonist

Creative, clever kids with a penchant for drawing may find satisfying work penning cartoons for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other media outlets.

49. Animal Trainer

Animal lovers of all ages may love the idea of getting money in exchange for training dogs, horses, monkeys, and other furry friends.

50. Hobo

Hobos may not have it as easy as people think, what with exposure to the elements and being more likely to end up on the victim end of a crime and all. But, at the same time, they answer to nobody, get to travel, can sleep whenever they would like, and have to constantly think quickly and creatively to meet their basic needs. Some may consider the risk a tradeoff.

Even though every job worth its salt asks its employees to display “grown-up” behavior and maturity, many out there still involve a healthy dosage of creativity, exploration, and exhilaration. Whether they chose to draw inspiration from their early childhood or collegiate glory days, these career paths provide some great opportunities for those whose spirits or hearts never forsook the magic and energy of youth.

10 Reasons to Be Glad You Didn’t Go to High School in China

China is known for their vigorous education at all grade levels, but high school is an especially grueling time for Chinese students. Discipline is a huge part of Chinese lifestyle and this introduced at an early age and drilled in through high school, giving students a true taste of real life in China. While the program may be a nightmare to those in the Western world, many Chinese students see it as a necessary step to prep them for university and a successful career.

  1. Good luck getting there. In China, only the primary school (grades 1-9) are required. High school is three years long with the senior year being the most strenuous in terms of academics. For Chinese students outside of major cities, there is a very low chance they will attend high school and instead opt for working in agriculture or moving to cities to work in factories. By some Chinese families high school is seen as a waste of time since a student could be out working instead of getting an education. Less than 35% of students in China enter high school.
  2. Physical activity isn’t a fun gym class. In the U.S., gym class may consist of playing recreational basketball, a dance class, or playing a competitive team sport. Of course if you don’t excel in these areas, it isn’t the end of the world. Worst case scenario, you’re booted from the team or sit on the bench. In China, it’s a different story. On top of their regular physical activity (which can vary from 2-4 hours a week), Chinese students must pass a strenuous boot camp-style course that lasts 2-3 weeks prior to the school year. While it isn’t as brutal as U.S. Army boot camps, it is a course that students must prep for in the months leading up to it.
  3. Study hall is practically required. Maybe study hall is an optional class for Westerners, or a period where kids goof off while in the library. In China, study hall is almost mandatory. While there are no set rules on how often a student must attend study hall or after hours courses, it is vital to a student’s academic career due to the large amount of work. Unless you are Doogie Howser, you’re probably going to need extra time in the class room once you see the 3-4 hours of nightly homework that is given.
  4. One word – the Gaokao. The Gaokao is the Chinese version of the SAT or ACT exams. Unlike these tests, the Gaokao doesn’t play a single role in determining what caliber of university a student attends. Gaokao is responsible for a student’s future. It decides where the student will be accepted at university. There’s no extracurricular activities or grades involved, just Gaokao. The Chinese government doesn’t care where you volunteered or how many debates you won, they just want to send those who test well to the top universities and utilize them for careers in the future.
  5. You can forget about having a high school sweetheart. As studying intensifies for seniors preparing to take the Gaokao, students are expected to focus only on school work and scoring as high as possible on the exam. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend is seen as a distraction from the Gaokao and students are reprimanded if they’re seen spending too much time with the opposite sex or exchanging subtle PDA in the hallways such as holding hands. Of course, with hours of homework a night, who has time to bother thinking about a companion? The Chinese want to keep it that way.
  6. Verbal abuse is the norm. If you make it to high school, you’re probably wealthy or live in a large city where education is seen as an opportunity to be seized. While corporal punishment is not allowed, verbal abuse and humiliation is. While most Chinese students are accustomed to this treatment by the time they reach their middle and late teens, it can still have an effect on their behavior, school performance and self-confidence. The teenage years are usually awkward and while Chinese teens don’t deal with the silly distractions Western teens face, they are still growing into their own skin. This verbal abuse is seen as the norm (and practiced as such), and students must take it or risk expulsion.
  7. When it comes to science class, you can look, but never touch. Even if your high school days were a drag, you probably remember dissecting a frog. If it’s an experiment day in science class, you can count on a little fun that day, right? Not in China. Chinese students can view experiments on a video, but they can never partake in them. How this is supposed teach a lesson we aren’t exactly sure, but the Chinese have a strict rule that prevents science classes from conducting any experiments on school turf. Instead, a TV is brought in and students watch the experiment being performed. Thrilling!
  8. It’s like you’re in boarding school only minus the fun. Because Gaokao is such an intense exam, the last three months of high school usually involve a boarding school-like mentality for students. This often involves a student staying at school for 12 hours a day, attending extra courses on the weekend or with a private tutor to improve their chances of scoring high on the Gaokao.
  9. You will run with the same crowd…your entire school career. Chinese students are placed in a class when they begin school in grade 1 and remain with this same group of kids through their senior year when taking the Gaokao. So if high school isn’t brutal enough, imagine living it with the same 30-40 kids you’ve known your entire life. With loads of school work, straight-from-the-book lectures, little to no class participation and a looming test, a mix of new students might make the high school lifestyle of a Chinese student tolerable. Instead they’re stuck with the same kids and build a serious competitive nature to outdo each other.
  10. You don’t have to resort to cheating. In the U.S., two tests – the SAT and ACT are accepted as part, yet not all of your college application. Because the Gaokao weighs so heavily on a student’s future, students, teachers and even parents have been caught cheating in order to improve test scores. It’s not only students and faculty to do cartwheels to prep for the Gaokao, but also parents, who promise new cars and other lavish gifts if a student does well on the test. In early January 2010, a group of teachers and parents were thrown in jail for helping students cheat using wireless earpieces and scanners.

High school students in China take academics seriously for the most part. While few have the opportunity to attend high school, even less will enter university. In 2007, about 10 million students took the Gaokao in hopes of landing one of 5.7 million availability spots at universities throughout China.

10 Funniest Teachers on YouTube

Shockingly enough, there are actually people on YouTube other than Rick Astley, whiny celebrity worshippers who seriously just need to get over themselves, and…uhhh…well…nobody knows for certain (and he comes with a bonus Rick Astley!). Many educators use the internet video juggernaut as a means of supplementing their high school or college lectures, while others end up on there thanks to a little ninja camera action courtesy of their cheeky students. Some, unfortunately, garner infamy for all the wrong but uncomfortably hilarious reasons. While there are quite a few cut-ups from the teaching profession sailing around on YouTube along with the other bits of flotsam and jetsam, the following 10 particularly stand out – though not always intentionally.

1. Paul Dawson

In a video that is humorous purely due to its absolutely horrifying nature, Valley High School English teacher Paul Dawson proves exactly why teachers should never try to relate to their students using slang or vernacular terms. The white, Louisville-based educator had the audacity to use the abbreviated form of a racial slur when addressing an African-American student. Depressing hilarity sinks in when Dawson attempts to take refuge in audacity, claiming that he was just trying to approach student Keysean Chavers on the same level as his peers. He apparently despises the etymological origin of the slang term, yet finds it perfectly reasonable to casually toss around the abbreviated version. His attempts to explain himself become increasingly more absurd as newscaster Renee Murphy keeps asking questions, eventually conceding that these kids today and their newfangled terminology just render him absolutely (and amusingly) clueless. Because of his shockingly idiotic semantic blunder, Dawson received a 10 day suspension without pay, had to attend additional diversity training courses, and forever went down in history as a warning sign for exactly why teachers and other adult authority figures should just stay away from making any attempt to act “hip” because they think it will help build relationships with their students. Here is a novel tip – try focusing all the energy that goes towards constructing a façade onto their education instead. Please keep in mind that viewing the WHAS 11 newscast on YouTube does contain the use of racial slurs as a means of analyzing their nature and impact, but not at all in the context of actually encouraging its use.

2. Goofy

As an antidote to the previous video – an understandable embarrassment for anyone who has ever worked in education – this Disney short from 1952 somehow decides that the best route to better humanizing teachers is an anthropomorphic cartoon dog. The video is not lying when it refers to instructors as “unsung heroes.” Most of the ones who do their job and actually respect their students and coworkers do fit under the label. Teaching can get extremely stressful and, depending on the behavior of the class, rather thankless as well. Given the circumstances that many of them face, having to remain “fair, honest, understanding, and intelligent” may end up seeming almost like a second job. Before the Walt Disney Company started turning its animation department’s attention towards whitewashed, watered-down, and not infrequently racially insulting and misogynistic interpretations of classic tales (and then redeeming itself somewhat by acquiring the always delightful Pixar), it produced a number of shorts on a number of different topics – and this one happens to revolve around education. The scene where Goofy has to enter his rambunctious classroom in full catcher’s regalia probably sadly resonates with far too many teachers, so kudos to them for pressing on without snapping!

3. ABC Lady

At first, the video of an older woman emphatically singing an alternate alphabet song that is surprisingly NOT to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” seems mild enough – maybe even cute to a certain demographic. Why, she even asks little Stephen (or Steven?) to watch the tip of her pointer, the attention deficit disordered scamp! And she ever so helpfully teaches them how to pronounce the “L sound” by placing their tongues behind their teeth! Hopefully her students go home today eager to practice phonics and do what they can to read and communicate the best they can!

…Except she teaches pre-AP biology…in a high school. Either there is some severe vocational dissonance going down in this video, or the woman in question is subjecting her students to a full-frontal assault of condescension as some sort of elaborate hybrid of performance art and protest against the public school system. An elaborate hybrid of performance art and protest against the public school system that her philistine audience just does not have the heart, experience, or intelligence to really get, man, but she keeps suffering for her cause all the same with the hopes that someone, someday, will find her efforts moving.

4. Tom Lehrer

As one of Weird Al Yankovic’s major influences, Tom Lehrer is obviously very, very funny. He holds a BA and an MA in mathematics from Harvard, and if they conferred a PhD in winning at life then he would have earned one immediately upon exiting the womb. The MA was put to good use teaching at his alma mater, MIT, Wellesley, and University of California, Santa Cruz. But for the enviably gifted Lehrer, a life of number-crunching was not enough. Oh, no. He also forged for himself a respectable career as an immensely popular songwriter, specializing in political satire, fun with science and math, and just plain silliness fraught with frightfully clever lyrics. Tom Lehrer could fill this list entirely on his own, but a standout that even those who disagree with his politics and wince at the thought of songs about educational topics (hardly surprising, given the previous video) can enjoy will have to suffice – a subject that everyone save for The Audubon Society agrees upon. No matter one’s age, gender, race, religion, or sexual preference, most people are united in their distaste for the avian rats that enjoy dive-bombing homeless peoples’ food and recklessly slinging their foul white goo around, so please enjoy “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” from his 1967 performance for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

5. Bob Lamb

With his friend Jim 4 questions away from winning Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Purdue English professor Bob Lamb put his 30 seconds of airtime as a lifeline to good use. He may not have been able to help answer the question about British history – and hey, considering his expertise lay in entirely different fields, the hiccup should not reflect ill on him! – but should still be commended for turning the nauseatingly ubiquitous game show that spawned an overused catchphrase and numerous lazy parodies into actual entertainment. The Bronx native takes jabs at his contemporary from Queens, makes snarky remarks about wanting to call the studio back, and generally responds to most comments with a sharp, smart comeback regardless of whether or not one is actually warranted. Lamb’s brief, bright moment of back-talking Regis Philbin definitely infused an otherwise bland television experience with a couple of genuine chuckles – and, as a bonus, a few of them were at a famous personality’s expense. That just does not happen enough sometimes.

6. Dr. David L. Goodstein

At no point is this warmly humorous physics professor ever credited in the video or the description, though the comments section identifies the man in question as California Institute of Technology’s Dr. David L. Goodstein. The information actually seems to check out, which is surprising considering the YouTube comments sections serves as a notorious depository of eye-crossingly, mind-numbingly painful examples of why the vast majority of cultures on the planet consider incest such a taboo. This montage of 3 humorous moments from Dr. Goodstein’s lectures serves as an example of lecturing done right. He relates to his students without having to resort to faking “cool” or awkwardly throwing around slang he knows nothing about. By using light prop humor, he infuses his occasionally dry and difficult subject matter with an accessibility that relaxes the audience. Note how Dr. Goodstein never once seems to act as anything more or less than what he is – a physics professor who wants to pass on his love of the subject to his students. Because of his ability to maintain dignity alongside hilarity, he ought to be considered a sterling example of teaching done right. Students – most especially those in college or high school – engage far better with the words of educators who emphasize learning over having younger generations consider them totally radical dudes and dudettes.

7.Matthew Weathers

While appropriately discussing Edwin A. Abbot’s novella Flatland, Biola University math professor Matthew Weathers throws down against his own shadow. An April Fool’s Day prank, the entertaining blend of digital video, animation, and computer programming lightened the mood before the school’s Easter vacation. The extremely clever visuals of the shadow running amok and deleting important files, tossing around windows, and grappling against a mysterious stranger in a tie are absolutely inspired. A couple of other videos in Weathers’s channel carry this theme of educating students by using technology in innovative new ways – he even includes a nice little tutorial on how to duplicate his delightful joke for other lectures and presentations! His other popular shenanigan includes some trick photography that seemingly interacts with the classroom setting. Like Dr. Goodstein above, Matthew Weathers clearly enjoys what he does, and passes his talent, time, and sincere love back to the students in a manner that is engaging – never patronizing. In addition, teachers who love the idea of pushing technology to its limits in the interest of education would do well to watch these videos for inspiration.

8. Mr. Chorney

This high school physics teacher combines the schadenfreude that many people desire in a YouTube video with an actual education in basic circuitry. Even if the Mr. Chorney in question never sustained a minor electric shock from his demonstration, the lecture would still warrant inclusion here. With improvisational humor, the educator breaks down how wiring a series of light bulbs actually works in a way both accessible and entertaining – very much in line with the previous 2 professors. But the 15-year-old boy in everyone (and YES, even ladies have an inner 15-year-old boy!) will particularly delight in Mr. Chorney’s memory lapse when he forgets that graphite conducts electricity. In many ways, the small shock – thankfully not larger – serves as a way of showing that even teachers are capable of making mistakes every once in a while. His reaction to the slipup in and of itself contains a great lesson to his students as well. Not only should they never approach electric charges with graphite or other conducer, but they should also learn not to allow pratfalls to damage their dignity. Mr. Chorney’s self-deprecating look back at his mistake proves that sometimes people just need to shrug off the petty indignities and save their worries for problems that actually matter.

9. Stephen Hawking

World-renowned physicist and Cambridge professor Stephen Hawking frequently peppers his lectures with dry wit and has made multiple guest appearances in many other media outlets. In this deliciously meta video, the distinguished educator analyzes his role in an episode of The Simpsons and dishes on what makes the show so funny. He originally landed the gig through his daughter Lucy, who had befriended one of the writers. From there, Hawking voiced himself coming to rescue of the Springfield Mensa Society with a variety of hilarious cartoon gadgets that – he muses – sadly do not come attached to his wheelchair. “Almost as many people know me through The Simpsons as through my science!” he points out with self-deprecation, but simultaneously praising the show and how much fun he had working on it. Even if this video is not a perfect example of Stephen Hawking’s sense of humor, it definitely illustrates his ability to laugh at himself (and the world!) enough to participate in a self-parody on one of the world’s most popular cartoons. And an appearance that led to the creation of an action figure, to boot!

10. Manuel DeLanda

Mathematicians and scientists do not have all the fun. They just seem to have better PR when it comes to YouTube videos. In this lecture, respected educator, philosopher, artist, and writer Manuel DeLanda – who has held positions at Columbia University, European Graduate School, Canisius College, University of Pennsylvania, and the Pratt Institute – discusses Gilles Deleuze’s theories regarding the origin of art. Part biology lesson, part philosophical musing on how self-expression through color may have found its way into human creativity, the discussion may not elicit more than one massive guffaw. But the elaborate portrait of bower birds ascribed with human characteristics infuses the lesson with a delightful sense of whimsical humor all the same. Except for the part where he discusses putting the fabulous feathered friends out of their misery. That jarring mood dissonance is what makes this video so great.

Humor may be subjective, so hopefully at least one of the 10 teachers who landed a spot garnered a chuckle or two. Regardless of whether or not the ultimate joke lay on them or if they have enough self-awareness to know that life ought not always be taken seriously, they still provide viewers with a laugh or 2 to make the day go by faster.

50 Best Blogs for Food Photography

Are you looking to add a specialty to your photography practice? Or are you just interested in sharing a finished recipe with your friends and family? No matter which, there is both a right and wrong way to photograph food.

If you don’t believe us, check out the below 50 best blogs for food photography. Everyone from professional food photographers to stylists to chefs are featured.

Best Blogs for Food Photography

These blogs are written by professionals and contain tons of tips on food photography.

    1. Still Life With… : Get little nuggets from the front lines of food styling and photography here. This blogger is a professional and shares loads of tips on how to do the same. There is also a class and Twitter feed on food photography.

    2. Food Photography Blog : This is a collection of articles intended to inform and educate the viewer regarding the craft, science, business, and art of food photography. The articles discuss various aspects of commercial and food photography. You can also get tips for technique and case studies.

    3. La Tartine Gourmande : This blog has a special section for food photography. Béa is a French expatriate living in Boston who is obsessed with food and photographing it. She shows you how, along with sharing loads of amazing recipes.

    4. Food Blog School : Choose Photography & Pictures to learn more about starting your own food photography blog. Entries date all the way back to 2005 and number in the thousands. You can also learn about blogging, promotion, tags, and much more.

    5. Nordljus : Keiko was born in Japan and now currently lives in the U.K. With a passion for both food and photography, this blog is a can’t miss. You can also get an exclusive photo blog, portfolio, and Japanese blog.

    6. Brian Preston Campbell : This is the blog of a professional food stylist, or someone who prepares food for photography. A short blog, there are still useful entries.

    7. Sara Remington : She is a professional photographer from New York who now works in California. She has over 15 books photographed and focuses on many subjects, including food. Many tips and images are shared.

    8. The Food Photo Shutter Bug Club : If you still haven’t found a food photography blog you enjoy, why not visit here? It is an online group of both professional and amateur food photographers who share tips and critique. The main site also has loads more.

Best Galleries for Food Photography

See how to improve your own food photography by checking out the portfolios of the professionals.

    9. Matt Armendariz : He is a photographer based in Los Angeles. He also has popular food blog named Matt Bites. Clients include Martha Stewart, “Time” magazine, and Whole Foods Market.

    10. Michael Ray : Simply slide over to get a picture of the food you want to see. It includes everything from breakfast to desserts. Michael has worked with loads of clients from McDonald’s to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

    11. Emerald Bay Photography : This studio specializes in food, beverages, and table scape photography. Simone also specializes in sports, event, product, editorial, and architectural photography.

    12. JM Georges : You don’t have to speak French to appreciate the food photography, but it doesn’t hurt. Photos, links, and more are included.

    13. Leemei Tan Photography : Their approach to food photography is to create and capture fresh, bright, modern food images, using high quality digital capture. Click on portfolio to check out the many impressive images.

    14. Professional Looking Food Photography : Think only the pros can take a decent shot of food? Then check out this group on Flickr. Over 9,000 members have shared over 66,000 food photographs and you can easily be one of them.

    15. Eat Me : Another community of food lovers, they also have an impressive photography gallery. Browse by ingredients, seafood, drinks, and more. You can also order images or customize.

    16. Cake Wrecks : See what happens when cakes go wrong in this food photography blog. What went wrong and why are discussed. You can also send in your own pictures of botched cakes.

Best Columns for Food Photography

See even more food photography and learn more about preparation in these top columns.

    17. Mark Bittman : Mark is the author of “How to Cook Everything,” “Food Matters,” and “Kitchen Express.” He also writes many articles for “The New York Times’” Dining Section. Check his blog for reviews, photographs, and more.

    18. Daily Dish : On the other side of the coast comes this food blog from “The L.A. Times.” In addition to what’s new in Los Angeles, food wise, they also include impressive images. They often link back to who took the image for more information.

    19. Gourmet Traveler : This Australian column travels across the world to find the best in food and food photography. You can get recipes, wine tips, reviews, and more. Be sure not to miss the gallery with tons of photographs.

    20. The Food Section : Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Josh Friedland has pursued a lifelong passion for cooking and dining. In July 2003, he turned his obsession into The Food Section, a pioneering weblog about food, wine, and travel. In addition to photography, you can get tips, quotes, and much more.

    21. SFoodie : Get the low down on food in San Francisco with this blog. In addition to reviews, you can also click on slideshows to see even more food photography.

    22. Lens : Not necessarily a food photography blog, this is a must visit for anyone interested in amazing images. The professional photographers at “The New York Times” gather photographs from across the globe to one place. Search for food photography or just spend some time clicking around.

Best Publications for Food Photography

Visit the sites of these leading magazines to see how they do food photography.

    23. Saveur : This site gets top spots for its amazing selection of food photography galleries. Choose from those such as guide to lamb cuts, Passover, pasta, and more. You can even enter their photo contest.

    24. Kraft Magazine : This site stands out for allowing both professionals and the everyday photographer to post their own food photographs. Choose from member recipes, healthy living, comfort, and others. The main site also has more on cooking on a budget or for a family.

    25. Food & Wine : Dozens of food photographs greet you when you visit the site. Click to view an enlarged photo, or learn more about the dish. They also have a few blogs to choose from.

    26. Bon Appetit : Another leading magazine, they also have many photos on their homepage. Food blogs include The BA Foodist, The Conscious Cook, and Project Recipe. They also have a Facebook page and Twitter feed.

    27. Epicurious : Recipe Central has dozens of entries and accompanying photographs. The community is also an excellent place to showcase your photography or get recipes. They also have many helpful videos.

    28. Test Kitchen : Follow recipes as they go from the drawing board to the plate here. Many interesting photographs and videos are included. You can also get other useful food related items.

    29. Global Chefs : This online culinary magazine is written by chefs for chefs. In addition, you can get food photography from high end dishes here. There are also blogs and the option to ask an expert.

    30. Cooking Light : Food doesn’t have to heavy in fat to taste or look good. In this magazine, photographs center on the lighter side of food. Loads of recipes include many pictures and more.

    31. Everyday Food : This magazine is headed by Martha Stewart and company. In addition to photography, you can get a blog, radio station, and even TV station. Be sure not to miss the iPhone app with more.

    32. Sunset : This magazine has loads of amazing photograph on a variety of subjects, including food. Top ten entries include 15 soups and chowders, ten easy slow cooked dinners, and 24 chicken dinners.

Best Food Blogs for Photography

These blogs focus on food yet still have amazing photos to view.

    33. 101 Cookbooks : This blogger scours tons of cookbooks to bring you the best. A standout feature of the blog is the Your Shots gallery in which readers send in their own food photography. Check it out or send in your own.

    34. Traveler’s Lunchbox : This blog also stands out for having an exclusive photo gallery. Sections also include a journal, recipes index, and tips on what to read. Local and foreign foods are featured.

    35. My Cooking Hut : This blogger is from Malaysia and passionate about food. With a special section for photography, tips are given. You can also get help for any Asian cooking you would like to do.

    36. Cannelle et Vanille : Focus on food, life, and photography with this blog. Aran started this blog as a way to journal the now not so blank canvas of food. If you enjoy the entries, you can also check out her Flickr gallery.

    37. Matt Bites : Matt is very passionate about food in his popular blog. Popular posts include blood orange caramels and cheese plate tips, along with a look inside his studio. Click on the photography category for more.

    38. Around the World in 80 Dishes : View food photography from all over the web here. In addition to the blog, there is also a weekly video series. Choose every country from Australia to Turkey.

    39. Orangette : Food, people, and more are the subjects of photography here. Molly quit a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and began this now popular blog. With archives dating back to 2004, make time for this food blog.

    40. Dessert First : If dessert is your preferred subject in food photography, check out this blog. Pastry Girl is from San Francisco and dishes all about her favorite course of the meal. Popular posts include tipsy apples and a better brioche.

    41. Nikas Culinaria : This blog is loaded with food photography. Be sure not to miss the Food Photo 101 post. It has tips for beginners in food photography.

Best Guides for Food Photography

If you are reading a blog for help on your own photography, stop at the below for guides to it.

    42. Shoot First, Eat Later : A user-friendly guide to taking perfect food photographs, from great cameras to simple techniques are given by Food and Wine. Nine essential tips are given. They even show you how to use a water glass as a tripod.

    43. Tasteful Food Photography : This guide is part of O’Reilly Digital Media. The article will show you how you can achieve professional results with a minimum of equipment, some budget-conscious props, a little technical know-how, and a big dash of creative fun. The extensive guide has loads of tips to help anyone improve their food photography.

    44. Food Photography Tips : This guide is part of the amazing food blog, 101 Cookbooks. Heidi shares her journey on how her photography started as mediocre and how she improved. ISO and more are discussed.

    45. Photography on Simply Recipes : This leading food site has a special section on food photography. Elise takes some time to answer reader’s questions on food photography. She includes what kind of camera, software, and lighting equipment she uses.

    46. Book Update Part IV : Chocolate & Zucchini is another leading food blog. Clotilde shares how she is making a cookbook, along with this piece on the photography. She shares what works and doesn’t in this food photography guide.

    47. Digital Cameras for Food Photography : Heidi shares her tips for shooting food on this forum from egullet. Three strict rules include natural light, no flash, and background. There are also many other tidbits included.

    48. Making Food Look Good : The Media Awareness Network takes a behind the scenes look at how to prepare food for photography. Many interesting, yet unappetizing, secrets are shared.

    49. Food Photography Tips : If you’ve never heard of Sharon Calahan, you’ve probably seen her work in the film “Ratatouille.” In this interview, she shares some of the techniques they used on the movie and suggests some Food Photography tips for enthusiasts at home. Click on both parts to read the entire thing.

    50. Lara’s Recommendations : Truly wondering what kind of equipment the pro’s use? Then stop here to get a professional food photographer’s recommendations on Amazon. It includes books, kitchen equipment, and cameras. She also has more here.

Whether photographing lemonade or lobster, the above 50 best blogs for food photography offer loads of help. They can also assist in preparing, sharing, and showcasing your final creations.