Starting Your First Year on Campus Reply

Time flies. Summer has gone by quick and now it is time to start getting ready to go off to college. It wasn’t that long ago that you were a lowly freshman in high school; learning the ropes, trying to find your classes and your locker, and figuring out how you fit in to this brand new situation. Now you’ve graduated, high school is behind you, and you are about to start out once again as a freshman in a new and strange place. For some, this is an exciting prospect. For others, it may be terrifying! For most of us, it’s a little of both. Many questions are likely running through your head. What should you expect? What will your dorm be like? Will your roommate be nice and easy to get along with?  What should you bring?

First you should expect that, like your freshman year in high school, it will probably take you a few weeks to familiarize yourself with the area and get accustomed to your new life as a college student. Try to relax and give yourself a break and allow yourself to be a freshman. You will get lost. You and the other freshmen will be easily recognizable on campus because you will likely have maps in your hands and a somewhat perplexed expression on your face as you begin to learn to navigate the place.

When you first get to college and get yourself settled in, take some time to explore the campus and your dorm. There will be rules for your dorm, make sure you read them and understand them. Remember your RA (Resident Assistant) is there to help you. The RA applied to that position because he or she wants to help you get settled in and happy in your new environment. Your RA is a resource that you should use! Wander around. Allow yourself to get lost and discover new places.

Most likely you will have a roommate. Many students headed to college worry that they will not get along with their roommate or that there will be potential issues or conflicts. This does not seem to be the case very often – most college roommates get along great and become good friends. Honest and open communication can prevent most conflicts before they even happen. Also, remember that this roommate is likely just for one year and if things aren’t going well, you’ll probably have the chance to make a change before the beginning of next year.

As far as what to bring with you, there are several suggested lists on the internet. Be sure to check your dorm’s rules before bringing things like microwaves, toaster ovens, coffee makers and the like, as some have fire regulations that prohibit such items. Bring mostly comfortable clothes and shoes to wear to class and a few more formal outfits for special events or interviews. Don’t forget to bring pillows, sheets, towels  washcloths. You will want a shower tote and slippers to wear to and from the shower. Bring things like photos to help remind you of home. We all have tons of electronics we bring with us (laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc) – don’t forget the chargers for these! Obviously bring some school supplies (paper, pencil, notebooks) for your first few days. It may be advisable to wait to see what you will need for your classes and buy supplies then, rather than buy a bunch of supplies to bring with you that you may not need.

The most important thing you can bring with you is your humor, your patience and your sense of adventure. Yes, your first few weeks at college will likely be stressful, they will also be exciting and fun. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Ask a Writing Expert: Q&A with Grammar Girl Reply

MignonGreenHeadshot6Last month, I had the exciting opportunity to ask an Internet celebrity some questions about writing and grammar. Mignon Fogarty, or as most of you probably know her, Grammar Girl, is the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Media Entrepreneurship in the School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is also the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips, one of the oldest and largest podcasting networks; a veteran of Silicon Valley startups; and best known online for her work as the New York Times bestselling author Grammar Girl.

Read on for a transcript of my Q&A session with Grammar Girl, and be sure to check out her website, podcast, and newsletter for more helpful writing tips. More…

Juniors, Listen Up — 7 Reasons You Must Start Your College Search NOW Or The World Will End Reply

Shocked and Crazy(*Disclaimer: A strange madman with the same name as my own stole my keyboard and typed out this article. After he was done, I figured that it was already typed in, so I might as well publish it. Though I might take what he says with a whole cylinder of salt.)*

You’re a junior in high school. You’ve got, like, a whole year left before you graduate, right? Plenty of time to sort out what you’re doing. If nothing else, you’ve got the whole summer between junior and senior year to figure your stuff out. No worries! It’ll be fine!


You must give up your entire being to your hunt for the PERFECT COLLEGE and you must do so IMMEDIATELY, or else THE ENTIRE FUTURE of not just YOU but of the WHOLE HUMAN RACE is in DANGER.

Why, you ask? I will tell you, and your life will never be the same.


The Only Admissions Q&A You’ll Ever Need? * Reply

online1I’ve read a lot of advice about college admissions over the past few weeks. While most of it has been good, it’s also left me feeling like we at Peterson’s could do an even better job informing our readers about the intricacies of this complex process. So, I rounded up some application authorities to conduct an in-depth interview. Let’s meet our distinguished panel:



Monday Link Roundup for Week of 12/9/13 Reply

P copyWe’re going to dive straight into the links this week because, as you may have noticed, we’re nearing the crescendo of the college application season and things at both Peterson’s and EssayEdge are busier than ever. Let’s see what’s been going on in the wild world of college admissions over the last seven days.

  • A neat note from the Navy Dispatch: college admissions standardized testing (the SAT and ACT) is available free of charge to active-duty service members at their local base education centers. If you’re in any branch of the military and are considering college after your service ends, this is a great, great opportunity to take advantage of! More…

Monday Link Roundup for Week of 11/25/2013 Reply

P copyHi folks! I’m standing in for my colleague Ryan Hickey in putting up the link roundup this week, and here’s hoping I can leave you with some savory tidbits to tide you over until your Thanksgiving Day feast!

Because news about the higher education world is exactly like juicy, delicious, tender, moist turkey, slathered in warm, brown gravy, with a side of stuffing and sweet potatoes and…I’m going to go make myself a snack, be right back.


Just How Rich are Some Universities? Reply

iStock_000004647415XSmallSoars. Skyrockets.

No, we’re not talking about LeBron James making an absurd dunk in a recent NBA contest or some extreme athlete achieving new milestones in wingsuit flight. Instead, these are the two most common verbs used in recent headlines describing Harvard University’s growing deficit, reported at $34 million for the most recent fiscal year as opposed to a more modest (but still massive by most of our standards) $7.9 million the year before.


Beware the Deadline Zombie… Reply

Jack o' LanternHappy Halloween to all of our readers out there, whether they’re spending the day dressed as ghosts and goblins or haggard applicants and stressed-out parents!

With spooky things lurking everywhere today, I’m writing a short post to warn you about one of the scariest things that I personally know of: the deadline zombie (cue “dun dun dun” along with a crash of thunder and some lightning). These creatures, which most often struggle to life the day after major college application deadlines, are exhausted shells of the people they usually are, having spent the vast majority of the previous day and night hunched in front of a computer desperately trying to finish and submit applications in advance of an impending due-date. More…

Your Take: 2013-2014 College Applications Reply

PollHey everyone! Each week here on the Peterson’s Newswire, we’ll be featuring one post that simply asks a relevant question or two about some aspect of applications, financial aid, or related subjects. We want your input and for you to be able to see how other applicants answer as well. The more participation we can get, the more interesting and insightful these polls will be – so be sure to share with your friends and colleagues!

This week, we have two basic questions about college applications for this cycle. Let us know your answers below and check back later to see how you compare to the rest of our readers.