Women: Advance your Career before Donning the Cap and Gown Reply

For most college students, graduation can’t come soon enough. This is especially true for young women eager to show the men of the world that they are every bit as capable in their chosen careers. However, in a time when employment rates are at historic lows, snagging a position is easier said than done. On average, bachelor’s-degree-holding young adults job hunt for six months. In male-dominated industries, such as construction and finance, that search can last considerably longer.

According to Kiplinger Editor Janet Bodnar, teenagers have difficulty walking into entry-level opportunities as many experienced candidates vie for positions. But there are things you can do right now to improve your chances of walking the line and then straight through the doors of your dream job.

Scout for prospective jobs once you decide on a major

There is no need to wait until your diploma is in hand to put your feelers out and see what types of jobs are available for people with your degree. Many colleges offer student-run consulting groups to help students in each industry pick the perfect profession. As well, you can check your campus placement office and local job listings monthly to see what’s out there. If you’re not yet ready to apply, at least file away in your mind companies you might like to target later on.

Choose your major wisely

It is not simply enough these days to hold a degree in an open-ended discipline, such as philosophy or liberal arts. In order to secure the highest-paying positions, you must pick your major strategically. Degrees in technology, public relations, and marketing are in high demand. These skills can be used across a breadth of industries, making you more hirable than other candidates.

Network early and network often

Yes, even college students – and in some cases high school students – should have a professional networking profile for use on social media sites, such as LinkedIn. However, while online networking may be most comfortable, you should also join organizations where you can make personal contact with hiring managers and other professionals who can help you get your foot in the door. If you’re getting close to graduation and have a city in mind, it’s a great idea to spend a week or two there, set up shop, and schedule a few interviews in advance. Immersing yourself in a networking community will connect you to a group of knowledgeable industry veterans and create new opportunities and experiences related to your chosen field.

Don’t ignore the power of an internship

Real-world experience in your desired profession goes a long way, especially when coupled with proven academic prowess. When looking at candidates with identical degrees, most hiring managers will grant a coveted interview with those who’ve proven they can perform their desired job.

Work on your soft skills

Soft skills, those that don’t seemingly affect your job, are vital to your overall success. Things such as communication and customer service skills can lead you further down your chosen career path.

Job hunting tips

Before you ever go to your first interview, it is important to polish your face-to-face skills. Go ahead and outfit your wardrobe with a few key pieces, including some classic black pumps, which pair well with any outfit. Make sure you know exactly what the company does and what the role requires. Don’t ask the interviewer questions that you could’ve easily found the answer to on your own. Instead, show a genuine interest in the culture of the company. Speaking of the interviewer, make sure to remember their name(s) – there is nothing more embarrassing than calling your future boss Carol when her name is Cindy. Be polite, courteous, and succinct in your answers. Maintain an air of professionalism at all times…even while sitting in the waiting room. Finally, don’t be afraid to tell the interviewer that you believe you are a strong candidate, that you’re interested in the position, and that you would welcome the opportunity for a second sit down session.


Gloria runs WomenLed.org, which celebrates women’s achievements in the workplace and beyond. She believes that while women have made many advancements toward “shattering the glass ceiling,” there is still much to be done. It is her aim to help increase the number of women-led businesses by educating others about the topic.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

How to Be a Highly Successful Online College Student Reply

Today, students have multiple opportunities to get higher education and now they don’t even need to move to another country to study at the university of their dreams. Online education diminishes all borders and reveals more opportunities to everyone. However, not all students use this opportunity. Most of them know about online education, but they don’t feel confident enough to study without visiting classes and directly interacting with the professors and other students. That’s why they give preference to classic education.

For many students, interaction with students and professors is of the primary importance. They find inspiration and motivation to study in this interaction. That’s why when they start to study online, they don’t demonstrate good results, as they always lose concentration and the desire to study itself. For these students, online education is not the best option.

However, many students also find this way of getting an education to be one of the most effective ones. The matter is that you may create your own schedule and decide for yourself when you want to study and when you want to have a rest. Of course, online education also has some tricky points. In this article, we’re going to talk about the best methods to become a highly successful online college student and get better results.

Organize your activity

First and foremost, you need to organize how exactly you are going to study. You need to know and remember the syllabus of every class that you need to take. Classes can be held in the form of lectures supported by images and videos, or in the form of webinars. It’s better to write down when exactly you have these classes and determine if you are free to watch the video records of the lectures. It’s even better to note when you should watch them according to your own plan. Also, create a schedule of your assignments and tasks that you need to accomplish to get your grades. It will be a good idea to use special apps for creating schedules. These apps can be installed on nearly all devices with any OS, so just choose the one which is the most suitable for you. Another trick here is to keep all activities in one app as in this way you won’t miss anything.

Visit all online classes

Most online students think that they don’t need to attend classes as they can get all this information somewhere else. They don’t even watch or listen to the records of online classes! Thus, they miss a lot of important information that can help with task accomplishment. If you have decided to become an online student, you need to visit all classes, and if you miss some classes, check the records to get the information. Besides, when a student starts to skip classes, it becomes a habit, and they no longer cares about checking these classes later on. Self-discipline is your main tool to continue online education and succeed in it.

Set study goals

Self-discipline and time management are crucially important for your online education, but they’ll be useless unless you have properly set goals. If you don’t understand why exactly you study online, it’ll be difficult for you to stay persistent with your work. When you know what exactly you want to achieve, you tend to make more effort to get the results. Of course, by setting study goals, you’ll need to follow certain patterns. For example, you need to set smaller goals for every class and some bigger goals that consist of accomplishing those smaller goals. The bigger goals should lead to your main goal.

Communicate with your professor and other students

Communication is important even in online studying. Of course, here communication differs from the communication in real life, as you do not spend the time together with your classmates. Still, all of you have one common goal – the education itself. Most online colleges have special forums and portals where online students may communicate. In addition, they may communicate with professors on these forums. Communication with professors is one of the most important aspects of successful education, and you should always keep that in mind. Every time you feel that you need to get an explanation of some pieces of information, you need to write your professor and ask questions just like you would ask a professor in brick and mortar universities and colleges.

Implement modern technologies

Technologies, including the possibilities of the Internet, enhance the quality of online education. First of all, you need to use technologies to communicate with other students and professors (although the college may have some forum or portal, you can also create group conversations in Facebook or Viber). Social media can really help students study and you should not ignore this way of studying, as it will bring more benefits to you. You may even use social media for your research! For students who study marketing, this can become a perfect platform for trying their own marketing strategies in practice.

Additionally, you may use modern technologies to enhance the quality of your writing. For example, you may use special spell checking programs that help improve the quality of your writing. Also, the Internet is full of resources that you may use to make your essays sound more profound and professional. Besides, after writing your essay, you may immediately check it for plagiarism to make sure that you have followed all the rules.

Online education is the way of getting a degree that does not suit everyone. It has too many tricky points but, in fact, real-time education also has these tricky points and students need to deal with them. Self-organized and disciplined students will feel equally confident both in traditional colleges and on online education portals. So, build your discipline and work on your self-organization to be able to receive an education at the best colleges without the necessity to leave your home!


Sophia Clark graduated from the University in the City of New York with a B.A. in Journalism, 2011. She is a creative writer from New York who loves to share her thoughts with readers. In her free time she enjoys writing fiction as well as reading it. Her big dream is to publish a novel one day. Connect with her on Twitter and Google +.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Saving For School: It’s Never Too Early To Prepare For the Future Reply

Few things can be as heartbreaking for a family as the inability to pay for school. Saving for school, which may seem far off in the future, takes a backseat to the immediate household priorities and bills. Finally, the day arrives when teenagers must decide next steps or parents must seek better employment. At this point, the future arrives, but no one has prepared for it.

What’s At Stake

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with college degrees earn almost twice as much income per week as workers without one. A college degree also cuts the probability of unemployment in half. Over a lifetime, these gaps add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings gains. From this wider perspective, school is a low-risk investment in the future. It is all but guaranteed to pay off. School does not pay off when you do not go, and takes much longer to pay off when you owe astronomical student loans.

saving-for-schoolWhy Saving Early is Critical

Scores of uninformed people believe financial aid will cover all their school costs. They do not understand how the Application for Federal Student Aid works. The FAFSA application factors household income, household size, household assets and debts, and family members in school with their combined costs. This information generates a Student Aid Report, setting an estimated family contribution based on scaled standards. If the government determines you can afford to contribute X Amount of dollars to school costs, then schools will deduct X Amount from grants they offer you and suggest student loans for the rest. Without savings, student loans add up or college is not affordable.

Tips on Saving Early

As early as you can, invest in an IRA, 529 Plan or other tax-deferred savings product you prefer. Pay off or minimize household debt. Refinance and consolidate debts to lower payments. Then, put the interest and principal savings aside for school. A local financial institution like Union State Bank can help you explore your options. Encourage part-time jobs for teens aiming to go to school and try one yourself, for savings income only. Lastly, make saving a fun family project, and encourage all to chip in on little things to lower bills and conserve resources.

As the costs of higher education rise every year, preparing early is essential. As soon as parents can afford to begin and children can contribute, saving for school must be a family affair. Doing so can mean the difference between future stability and generational wealth, or underemployment at best and poverty at worst.


Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family. Kara recommends looking into diplomacy programs for more information on degrees that can help save the world.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Words and Phrases to Take Off of Your Resume for Next Semester Reply

By: Francine Fluetsch, Uloop

As we begin to enjoy our winter break, we start to find that we might have more time on our hands than we know what to do with. Sure, this is your time to relax and do nothing for some of the days, but it’s also a good idea to use some of your time away from school to get some work done.

Young smiling man holding his resume applying for a job

Young smiling man holding his resume applying for a job

A great place to start would be tidying up your resume for next semester. Maybe you want to get it ready for an internship, a new job, get it ready for graduation, you name it!

Now, “tidying” seems like such a broad term, so where should you start? Well, once you have all the content that you want on there, it’s time to go through the editing process. You want to make every word count, and exchange some words that employers just don’t want to see on there.

Let’s look at some examples so you’ll be able to avoid these wordy mistakes and, as a result, make your resume the best that it can be.

Clichés:

Think about it: hiring managers have to look at hundreds of resumes, so they will start to see patterns of common things that potential employees like to put on their resumes to supposedly “stand out.”

The problem is, if you are using clichéd job terms like “I’m a hard worker,” you are putting down what hundreds of other people are, and by doing so, aren’t standing out.

Instead of putting the words “I’m a hard worker,” show this! It’s the same thing that we writers are told again and again — you need to show, not tell.

I found some helpful guidance in this article by Rachel Gillett. She quotes Mary Lorenz, a corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder, who sheds a bit more light on this subject.

“Anyone can say they are ‘best of breed,’ a ‘go-getter,’ a ‘hard worker,’ or a ‘strategic thinker,” making these terms unoriginal, and ultimately, hindering you more than they will help you.

Lorenz continues, “Employers want to know what makes the job seekers unique, and how they will add value to the specific organization for which they’re applying.”

This again is alluding to the fact that you need to demonstrate your worth, not just write a clichéd sentence about it.

Superfluous words:

My partner was taking an online career class, and they discussed how when you are writing your resume, you should always use active verbs when describing yourself and your experiences. I’d never really thought about it before, but it makes a lot of sense. It gets to the point of what you have accomplished, and doesn’t cloud your resume or confuse the hiring manager about what your previous positions actually entailed.

Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Résumé Strategists, says that superfluous words like “responsible for,” “oversight of,” and “duties included,” unnecessarily complicate and hide your experience. To avoid this, she too suggests the use of active verbs.

Ex: Replace: “Responsible for training interns” with “Train interns.”

This will save room on your resume, so you can pack everything in, and will show hiring managers exactly what you want to show them.

Team player:

Business Insider and Forbes both agree that this cliché has got to go. Obviously you need to be a team player, or you won’t get the job, but you need to show your team playing ability, not just type those words and call it good.

An article in Forbes, by Nick DeSantis, suggests the following.

“If your intention is to communicate how well you work with others, giving examples of your roles within collaborative projects will be far more impressionable on a resume.”

Again, showing, and not telling, will help you land the job and look more impressive.

Self-motivated:

Everyone likes to put that they are self-motivated on their resume (guilty as charged), but what weight does that hold? In order to receive a job, this quality should be a guarantee, not a resume booster. What I’m saying is, you want to use the space on your resume to highlight your initiative and work ethic, rather than just saying you are self-motivated. It won’t help you stand out and it is not specific enough or defining in any way. The more you know, right?

Proactive:

The Forbes article also recommends taking the word “proactive” out of your resume. Being proactive is great, but highlighting it to your potential employer doesn’t do all that much because, like being “self- motivated,” this should be a no brainer, and will be a quality that everyone who lands a job will have, thus making it pointless to attach on your resume.

These are just a few examples on what to avoid on your resume when you are polishing it. Bottom line, you need to be specific, give examples, be unique, and think like a hiring manager to avoid clichés. Good luck!


Visit uloop.com for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, tutors near campus, jobs for college students, and more.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

How to Utilize Your Degree to Help Save the World Reply

how-to-utilize-your-degreeYou may not be able to literally save the world, but you most likely want to use the degree that you’ve obtained to make a difference. You want to be a light in the lives of other people and a source of positivity and inspiration. The following are four degrees that you can use to perform your world-saving activities and some ways that you can make use of them:

Degree in Diplomacy

People who graduate from diplomacy programs have a special set of skills that they can use for people in this country or another. They are masters at communicating with other people and solving a wide variety of problems. Such people would be best in jobs such as publicists, foreign outreach specialists and project grant stewards. Project grant stewards take control of certain projects and help people to get the funds they need for them. You can make a difference in any of those positions.

Degree in Nursing

A nursing degree can help a person to serve others and “save” others in many ways. A person who has this kind of degree can work in a hospital, veterinarian’s office, nursing home, mental health institution and a number of other places. Such a person can also work as a home health aide and provide people with encouragement and assistance with everyday duties. Families truly appreciate someone who can help them care for their ill loved ones. It would be an amazing task for you if you have a heart of gold.

Human Relations Degree

A human relations degree is good for a person who wants to work as a counselor. Counselors can fit into a myriad of situations. Examples of some of the jobs that the human relations degree can get are jobs such as the guidance counselor at a school or the human relations specialist for an employer. This person serves others by helping them to achieve their goals and to deal with their conflict head on.

A Counseling Degree

Finally, a counseling degree is an amazing degree for someone who would like to “save” people who have problems that they need to work out. Counselors can work in private offices, institutions, online and more. Furthermore, they can help with domestic violence issues, substance abuse, childhood trauma and the like. They can assist with career goals and life coaching, as well.

The opportunity to contribute to making the world a better place is still available. Any of the above-mentioned degrees can put someone closer to achieving the tasks. There are even tons of other degrees out there that can help you change the world. This list is just scratching the surface.


Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family. Kara recommends looking into diplomacy programs for more information on degrees that can help save the world.

3 Creative Way to Earn a Side Income to Pay College Tuition Reply

According to data fromBeautiful waitress with a tray The Institute of College Access and Success, a whopping 70 percent of students graduate with student loans. In fact, research shows that the average 2016 college graduate has about $37,172 in student debts.

What’s more shocking, however, is the fact that tuition and college fees keep rising sharply every year. In fact, an analysis of student fees from 1995 to 2015 found that the average tuition and fees at private National Universities has increased by 179 percent, the average tuition and fees at out-of-state public universities has risen by 226 percent and the average tuition and fees at in-state public National Universities has increased by a massive 296 percent — all in 20 years. If available research is anything to go by, it will take most students at least 21 years pay off their student loan debts.

How do you lessen your student loan debt burden and earn an income on the side? The following six ways will allow you to earn income on the side to pay your college tuition:

  1. Online Jury Duty: The law field is getting increasingly interesting, with a lot of different cases and rulings coming out with unexpected angles. In an attempt to be more prepared, trial attorneys have realized that they need to go beyond theory and get some practice before they get in front of a real judge — and they are leveraging the Internet for this: by working with online juries.

By working as an online jury, you will have the opportunity to review real cases before they get to the court; the aim of the attorneys is to see if their case can stand, and you can often earn up to $60 per case. This quickly adds up towards your tuition. You can find countless companies that pay online juries by doing an online search.

  1. Start an Online Business: You can also earn side income to pay for your tuition by starting an online business. The advantage to starting an online business is that it can be done at the comfort of your home, on your computer, and it won’t interfere with your studies. Here are some tips to help you if you decide to start an online business:
  • Partner to promote other people’s products: Save yourself the stress of having to create a product. Simply find a product that is selling well, and promote it as an affiliate. You get a commission for every sale, and this quickly adds up.
  • Start your own blog: Blogging can be one of the most effective things you will do as a college student. Not only does it help your ability to write and express yourself, it can also be a good source of income. A blog will also be useful for you after college: there are several examples of people who got their dream jobs due to their blogs.
  • Create and sell your product: This has the most potential, and if done right you can earn you enough to pay off your tuition within a year or two. However, it takes a lot of work — especially initially. It also involves several complexities, such as doing market research, creating an email list, looking for affiliate partners, etc.
  1. Become a Freelancer or Consultant: Research estimates that 40 percent of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020.

The surge in the number of freelancers, consultants and contract workers is mainly due to the Internet — more and more people can work remotely and still be as efficient. For you, as a college student, taking advantage of this could be the key to paying off your tuition. Some tips:

  • Establish the skills you can offer to potential clients: this could be design, writing, programming or artistic skills. You can work as a freelancer or consultant irrespective of the skills you have.
  • Take advantage of top freelance sites like Upwork to find clients that are looking for freelancers.
  • To give yourself an edge, take things to the next level by compiling a list of potential clients and reaching out to them directly.

John Stevens is an entrepreneur and founder of HostingFacts.com, an online portal that reviews web hosts. He is a regular contributor to Standford’s blog, Business Insider, Entrepreneur.com and other major publications. Follow him on Twitter @hostingfactsj.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

 

Living in your first apartment: Life off campus versus life on campus Reply

Late Night StudyYou’re all settled into your first apartment. The mattress topper miraculously fit through the door, all your clothes made it into a new closet and you’re plastering your walls with photos of friends and mementos of campus events from last year. After all the hours you’ve spent moving into your first off campus location, your stomach grumbles and you think, “Oh, time to go to the dining ha—oh, right.”

What changed?

In short, off-campus life carries with it a set of responsibilities that may have been irrelevant to think about when you lived on campus. Universities typically support students housed on campus in every possible way by supplying them with essentials, mainly so that students only need to worry about their studies. The moment you switch to an off-campus apartment situation, you’re more independent from your university and a few aspects of life become a bit more prominent.

  1. Having to care about bus times

Back when you were an on-campus student, you may have had the luxury of being oblivious in terms of when city buses come up to your campus bus stops. Since all the city buses ultimately lead downtown in most college towns, you may have just hopped on whatever bus number showed up outside your residence hall. Now that you’re an off-campus student, you have to care about bus numbers and bus arrival times.

Most students don’t have their own cars, or if they do, their university might not have the most parking spaces in the world. Maybe those several hundred-dollar parking permits aren’t looking so good to your wallet. If you do rely on buses to navigate through town, living off campus will mean you have to plot out the best routes to use to get from your place to class in time.

  1. Grocery shopping and cooking for yourself

Most universities still allow off-campus students to purchase a 5-day or 7-day meal plan, but you’ll find it much less convenient to use any on-campus dining halls anyway if you live in an off-campus apartment. This means you’ll have to budget your money and time so that you’ll have plenty of good food each day, and you may start packing a lunch and some snacks to take up to campus each day.

If you’re not ready to cook for yourself completely just yet, you might consider inquiring with campus dining services about a modified meal plan that gives you a set number of meals per term. If, however, off-campus living signifies a need to provide all of your own food, make a plan for when you’ll hit the grocery store each week and how you’ll transport groceries home.

  1. Making more intentional efforts to stay updated on campus activities

If you’re a very involved student on campus who works many jobs and is in many organizations, you may realize from moving off campus that it’s now a lot harder to make weekend meetings or evening study sessions at the library when you no longer live within five minutes walking distance of all campus facilities. This may mean factoring more travel time into your schedule to arrive at your commitments on time.

Additionally, living off campus may make it harder for you to access community events and functions on campus. The reality is proximity to every event is a luxury on-campus students have, but off-campus students can still attend campus functions as long as they remember to stay updated on what’s going on.

Off-campus students may not see all the flyers at campus bus stops for the ‘90s dance party happening in the main lawn, or they might not hear about the annual activism conference happening next Saturday. This means off-campus students should follow social media pages run by their university and check campus event calendars regularly to avoid missing anything exciting. Sometimes off-campus students might coordinate carpools or offer rides to other off-campus students to make commuting easier.

  1. Reduced access to all of your friends at once

The beauty of living on campus lies in the access you have to all your friends living in the same building or even on the same floor as you. You never run out of people to visit when you live on campus because most students in your grade level are housed together, creating a close-knit feeling of support and community.

The switch to off-campus living means you’ll have to explicitly plan when to hang out with certain friends, because chances are some of your friends have also moved off campus. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because living off campus often grants you more space to spend time with others, but you’ll find you have to put more of an effort into setting up hangout dates with people who used to be your next-door neighbors on campus.

While it does carry with it its own challenges, off-campus living can provide students with a healthy amount of independence they might not have had when living in the on-campus residence halls.


By Julia Dunn, Uloop News. Visit uloop.com for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, tutors near campus, jobs for college students, and more.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Juniors: Make a List of Potential Colleges Reply

Making a list of collegesAs a high school junior, the task of picking a college can be daunting. There are so many colleges out there. So much to consider. There are a variety of different guidebooks and websites designed to help you search for a college that is right for you. Sometimes, the sheer amount of information on colleges makes things more confusing. You won’t really know for sure if a college is right for you until you visit it, but you certainly can’t visit every single college you find interesting. So how do you decide?

The best way to start is to make a list of colleges that you could see yourself attending.  In preparation for making this list, it’s important to really consider what qualities you are looking for in a college. It is much easier to evaluate a school, once you have done some thinking about what you want in a college. Make a list of the things you need and want from your prospective school.

Qualifications

Some qualifications are obvious and fairly objective. If you know what you want your major to be, or at least have an idea of where your main interests lie, then you’ll want to make sure that the school you are looking at offers degree programs that fit your goals. Location can be a factor.  Do you want to go to school close to home, or are you looking to move away? Cost is always a factor, though one that is difficult to measure.  Certainly you don’t want to add a school to your list if the cost to attend will exceed your budget.  Still, many schools that may have a tuition expense that is out of your range also have grants and scholarships that can help you offset those costs. A school’s athletic program might be an important decision factor for athletes who plan on continuing their sport at the college level.

Other qualifications are more subjective. What is the best college environment for you? Would you rather be in a big university or a smaller college? In a big city or a smaller one? College is not just about classes and grades and diplomas.  It’s also an experience.  Think about the things that are important to you as a person. What are your hobbies?  What kind of weather do you prefer? What clubs do you think you’d like to join?  What is the overall environment like?  These questions are much harder to answer without visiting the college – and if you are making fairly long list, you probably cannot visit them all! Sometimes visiting the school’s website, talking to someone who attends or did attend the college, or to the admissions personnel might help with some of these more subjective questions.

Share Your List of Schools

Once you have more clearly defined what types of colleges you’d like to attend, then it is much easier to research and add good candidates to your list of colleges.  Throughout this process it is a good idea to talk with your parents, other family members and your high school counselor to get feedback.  Those around you, who know you well, can be great resources because they can provide insight and ideas that may not have occurred to you. Once you have a list, they can also help you narrow it down to a handful of colleges that you can visit.

The New Frontier – Preparing for Your College Experience Reply

Female college student walk on the road to start her journey and gain bright future

Female college student walks on the road

A lot of the big work is finally behind you. You’ve taken your SAT tests. You’ve applied and been approved for college. Countless hours have been spent writing essays and filling out long grant and scholarship applications. In a short time your life will be very different, you will be packing your stuff, moving out of your house and into a dorm at college, where you will spend the next several years of your life. Now reality sets in.

This time can be very exciting, but it can also be a little scary. You will soon be away from your parents, in a strange place with a lot of people you don’t know. Certainly it will be a wonderful time. Most everyone looks fondly back at their college years; the friends they made and all of the fun they had. Yet it is also one of the most stressful times. For most, it’s the first taste of independence, and a huge increase in your personal responsibility. Here are some tips for making this transition easier.

Know what to pack and what not to pack

Every school will provide you with a list of recommended items to bring to the dorm. They will also provide you with restricted items that you should not bring with you. Most of these items are common sense, but these lists can be useful. Keep them with you when you are shopping. These lists are not all-inclusive however. Other items you may consider bringing:

  • A sleep mask and earplugs – your roommate may be on a different schedule than you!
  • An external hard drive – your list will probably include a laptop, but backing up your schoolwork is a good idea.
  • Power strips – it’s always good to have a surge protector to plug your electronics into.
  • A basic tool kit
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Shower shoes

The important thing to remember is that dorms are small. You won’t have much room for stuff, so the more you can limit and still be prepared and comfortable, the better off you will be.

Having a Roommate

Some of you may already know your future roommate but many of you will not. Much of the time, you will have a positive experience with your roommate. This person may well end up being a friend for life. However, you are living with another human being, and will undoubtedly have different preferences habits and personalities. The best way to start your relationship off in a positive way is to set ground rules and expectations with each other. It’s a good time to begin thinking about what is important to you when living with someone and how you plan to balance your school work and social life. When you get to the dorm and meet your roommate, discus those items and come up with a set of “rules for the dorm” that is acceptable for both of you.

Finally, be prepared for the unexpected

Your first few months at college will likely be a bit chaotic while you acclimate to a new schedule, learn your way around, get used to the rigorous academic requirements, and get to know your fellow students. Likely, things will not always go as expected, or as you would like them to. Be prepared to be flexible and patient. Bring some extra spending money to purchase the inevitable few things that you either forgot, or didn’t know you needed.

The Art of Narrowing Your List of Colleges Reply

Narrowing your college list.

Deciding on a college.

As a high school junior just starting a new school year, it is easy to see your college career as something still far on the horizon. Certainly you are preparing (or have already taken) your SAT or ACT test. You’ve likely begun thinking about what schools you would be interested in attending, and maybe you’ve even visited one or two. Still, the actual idea of graduating high school and starting college can seem far off. It’s really not as far away

as it seems, and your junior year is a great time to do some fine-tuning of your list of colleges. Fine-tuning now can save you stress and frustration later.

If you’ve been doing your research, you may have quite a list. It’s not uncommon for a student to have a list of 10 or more desirable colleges. Now it’s time to narrow that list to something a little more manageable before beginning the application process. Applying to too many schools can be stressful and make a tough decision even tougher. Here are a few things to consider while narrowing your list.

Location

Some students want to stay close to home. Some want to go to specific areas of the country. For some, location isn’t as big of a deal. If location is important to you it’s time to think this through and possibly get rid of colleges that are not in a location you are interested in living.

Specific Degree Programs and Features

Obviously, if you’ve placed a school on your “potential school list,” you’ve chosen a school that offers the degree you want. Now it’s time to research further. Does the school have a good reputation for your specific degree? You may also want to consider special ancillary features each college offers. If you are interested in studying abroad, specific work-study programs or ROTC, you’ll want to narrow your list to colleges that fulfil those needs.

Cost

Let’s face it, one of the major considerations when choosing a college is the tuition and other costs. Determining the net cost of a year of college at a particular institution can be tricky. It’s not just a matter of looking at the tuition cost. On the surface, one school may be more expensive than another, but that school may also offer more grants and scholarships. Depending on your situation, it is conceivable that a more expensive private college could actually be cheaper than a public college with a lower tuition because of a more comprehensive financial aid program.

Composite image of student holding laptopLong Shots vs Sure Things

Depending on your goals, you may wish to apply to some schools that are more difficult to get into. Remember, even if you have great grades, you are not guaranteed admission into a school like Harvard or Yale. If schools like these are on your list, then it’s a good idea to also have some second choices on your short list that meet your goals, but tend to be easier to get into.

Every student is different, so likely there are other considerations to be made when reducing your prospective college list. Take some time now to think it through and narrow your list. This way you can focus your time and effort on applying only to those schools you most want to attend.