Archive for the ‘Before Leaving for College’ Category
You may have only gotten to know them this past year when you all started working at the local fast food joint, or perhaps you’ve all known each other since birth. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and they come with lists of inside jokes and rich histories: The story on how you first met, the worst fights, the funniest moments, and the best nights. Whether you’re a group of close girls like Desperate Housewives, a couple of fun buddies like Entourage, or a whole group of guys and girls with the same interest like Glee, you’ve come to realize you don’t all have the same plans after graduation. You may be going to different colleges. Some may go to college while others join the armed forces. Some may choose not to attend college at all. Others might be a little younger than the rest and still have the rest of high school to finish.After seeing one another on a daily basis, possibly for the last fifteen years, the thought of parting ways to continue your journeys individually can be a bit rough to deal with.
The following is a list of ways you can ensure that your friendships continue to last throughout your transition into a high school graduate.
If you’ve spent all of high school imaging what it would be like to dorm with your best friend at college, only to discover your best friend wants to go to a different college, or not go to college at all, you may be feeling a bit disappointed, a little scared, and perhaps even angry. Do your best to respect the values of your friends. While your plan might be the best thing for you and your future at this time, it may not be the best thing for your friends. Respect their decisions.
Expect Some Change
The relationships you have with other individuals are changing every minute, whether you realize it or not. With every disagreement, every social event, and every meaningful conversation, your friendships become a little bit different. Your friendships will continue to change after you’ve graduated high school, possibly in bigger ways than you’re used to. For example, you and your friends will make additional friends. Your friends may not mention tiny pieces of information on their weekly phone calls that they would have mentioned when they saw you on a daily basis. Most of these changes will be harmless, but will take some getting used to. If you understand your friendships are likely to change a little bit, you’re more likely to be okay with the changes as you realize them.
Design A Ritual
Define a day, an event, or a ritual that binds you together, whether that be celebrating a made-up holiday, going to the carnival together every summer, sending newsletters to one another, or getting together at a local restaurant every college break. Find something you’ll all continue to do on a regular basis that will enforce the closeness of your friendships.
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Here’s this situation: You already heard that you got into your safety school. You go out to your mailbox to see if your dream school has contacted you yet. You see a letter, not a package. Your heart sinks. Rejection is on your mind. You open the letter. Your eyes dart to find the important words. “Unfortunately…” Your hearts sinks even more. Then you see that one word: waitlist.
You’ve been added to the waitlist. Now what?
The good news is that you are not rejected. Unfortunately for you, the reason why, is that they have a high rate of accepted students attending. You’ll probably need to put a deposit down on another school and accept a spot and wait. It’s a waiting game. But there are a few things (not including your parents donating a library to the school) you can do to try to maximize your chances of getting in:
Talk to the school about your chances
Contact the admissions department and ask what percentage of students get off the waitlist. This will give you some way to handicap your odds of getting in off the waitlist.
Ask about ways to get off the waitlist
Talk to the admissions office and ask them what the criteria are to get off the waitlist. Maybe your grades were fine but your extracurricular activities were not great. Is there a way you can highlight some aspects about yourself that did not come through in the application or interview?
Send a letter (BUT DON’T BE OVER THE TOP)
Send the school a one-page letter, highlighting your achievements since you applied. Maybe you kept your grades up (while most of your peers were slacking off) or were the lead in a school play. Make it clear why (with specific) reasons and how much you want to attend their university. But whatever you do, don’t sound desperate or do anything over the top.
Enlist Your College Counselor
College/Guidance counselors often have personal relationships with admissions officers developed from communicating with them over years and years. Talk to your counselor about what they think you should do to try to get off the waitlist. Maybe they know someone in the admissions office and serve as an advocate for you.
Overall, the odds of getting off waitlists are not great, but there are a few things you can do to maximize your chances. Remember, do not do anything desperate or over the top. Simply highlight yourself to the school in a tasteful and respectful manner and hope for the best.
Need something to do while you’re waiting to hear about the waitlist? Find your scholarship matches!
Whether you’re graduating high school with plans to attend a local community college, or you’re leaving for the other side of the country, graduating from high school and beginning a new life as a college student is a major transition. It’s an exciting time, with many changes about to take place!But, before you dive into a whole new world, check out these four things you should do before you walk across the stage and receive your high school diploma.
Smooth Your Surfaces: Maybe you haven’t always been nice to everybody at school. Perhaps you have an ex you haven’t spoken to all year because things got weird, or you maybe you have a sibling you haven’t seen eye-to-eye with since elementary school. While there’s undoubtedly things you’re eager to leave behind, it does wonders for you and others emotionally to take this chance before you leave to make things right, so you can embark on your journey with a clean slate.
Define Relationships: Transitions can be tough on any relationship. Perhaps you’re leaving for college, but your significant other is still in high school. Maybe you’re planning on attending two different colleges. Before things get sticky, talk about your relationship. Will you maintain the relationship? Will you continue to be exclusive, or do you plan to see other people? It’s better to figure it out now than be surprised and hurt and heartbroken by a difference in perspective later.
Preserve Bridges: Identify the people at your school and community who have influenced you and could potentially assist you in your future. Your English teacher who wrote your letter of recommendation may someday request you sub for her class. Your friend’s dad who got you a summer internship may be the gateway to your first entry level job. Get the email addresses of these people. Send them holiday cards and updates on your life. By maintaining these relationships now, you’ll be helping yourself later.
Decide What to Bring, and What to Let Go: College is often seen as a fresh start. Even if you attend a local college with a chunk of your high school classmates, most people won’t know who you are, what you did, what you’re like, or what you’ve been called. Before you step into a new world where you’ll have to make yourself all over again, decide what’s worth bringing and what’s worth leaving. Bring your personal philosophies, your best qualities, your funny stories, and your dreams. Leave behind your awkward moments, your bad relationships, and your failed tests, because who you were won’t matter, but who you are does.
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Guys. I know for many of us, going shopping is pain in the #($*$(#*# @(@*#(* ; even for something as exciting as college.
So here’s a simple list of some things you should think about getting for your dorm room that will make those shopping trips easier:
A mini-fridge: You will get sick of the dorm food. I repeat: You will get sick of the dorm food. Also, you will not want to waste a meal credit on breakfast that often. So a mini-fridge is a good place to keep breakfast and snack supplies as well as cold drinks for those late night study sessions.
Risers for your bed: If you don’t end up lofting your beds, get risers for your bed. Those few inches will make a big difference for what you can store in your room. You’re going to want as much space as possible.
Extra sheets and towels: Don’t be gross. Change your sheets. Also your friend from high school visiting does not want to have to use your damp towel you just dried off with to shower. Your friends will not remember to bring a towel when they come to visit.
Air mattress: If you don’t have a futon in your room, keep an air mattress handy in case you have a friend from out of town come to visit. A sleeping bag is nice also. Don’t be a bad host. Also your buddy from down the hall will thank you whenever his roommate’s out of town girlfriend comes to visit.
Laptop lock: Some schools have issues with theft in the dorms. For peace of mind, lock up your laptop to your desk. This way you don’t have to lock your door every time you go to the bathroom.
Microwave: Now’s the time to eat all the snack food that your mom wouldn’t let you buy growing up. Many of these hedonistic foods require preparation in the microwave. You’ll thank me at 2am.
Hamper for your clothes: When you’re working off those late night snacks you’ll want to have somewhere to throw your dirty gym clothes afterwards.
Power strips: There are never enough outlets in the dorm room.
Flash drive: Much more convenient than uploading to a server or emailing your self a document every time you want to print something at the computer lab, you’ll be grateful you have a flash drive when the printer you got for free with your laptop breaks after 2 months of use.
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It’s totally normal by the end of high school to want to get as far away from your home as possible. Even those with the closest and best relationships with their families are ready for the newfound independence that college brings. If you’re choosing between a few colleges it can be very tempting to tune out your parents and siblings. Everyone has their own opinion, but finances aside, it is really up to you to make the best decision for yourself.
Maybe your father is encouraging you to go to the school with good sports. Your mother is claiming she will support you no matter what, but is pushing you to pick a school close to home. Your older brother is trying to get you to go to his school. Everyone, your friends included, have an opinion for what you should do. Your parents will attend campus visits with you and feel rejuvenated and nostalgic at once for their own college years. Maybe they will be pushing you to attend either their alma matter or a school with a similar vibe.
Go on campus visits. Bring your family on the tour. Stay with students. Sleep over with a friend in the dorm. If you don’t know anyone at the school, talk to your high school guidance counselor about introducing you to another alumnus who is at that college. If there is no one from your high school there, contact the college’s admissions office and see if they set students up with people to show them around campus. Go out with the students without your parents. Get a real feel for what college will be like.
Remember, as frustrating as this can all get, your parents and family mean well and are trying to use their wisdom to steer you through this stressful time. You might feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. The classic “paradox of choice.” If you had only got into one school you would have been happy going there; but now that you have a few choices you cannot seem to make up your mind.
Once you’ve done all of this, calmly talk to your parents. Don’t snap at them when they offer opinions. Talk to them about what makes sense geographically, financially, academically and for your quality of life as a student. All these factors have to be considered. Relax and chose and remember, this is not life or death. If you don’t like your school you can always transfer.
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If you’re a high school senior, get ready for a whirlwind spring. This season will be full of college acceptance and rejection letters, waves of nostalgia, and loads of graduation events. A lot of seniors hold big graduation parties with food, family and friends. Not to mention: GIFTS!
Being original is hard when everyone is buying useful and fun presents for a college-bound 18-year-old. Here are some ideas that will help you find a great graduation gift for your friends!
For A Lady: Perfume
I have a friend who chooses a new perfume when she begins a new stage in her life. She wore only one perfume all through high school, a second perfume all through college, and now a third as she enters medical school. For her, choosing a new scent is like rewarding herself on a job well done and getting excited for the next stage of her life. The coolest part? Any time she smells a past perfume she instantly remembers that time in her life when she wore it every day.
For A Gent: Magazine Subscription
He’s going to be doing enough reading for class, so he might enjoy a cool magazine subscription. Depending on his interests, he might like Sports Illustrated, Discover or Esquire to name a few. Also, who doesn’t like to get mail actually addressed to them? Living in the dorms away from home as a freshman isn’t always the greatest, so getting a fun piece of mail every once in a while will be a treat.
Dorm living doesn’t require much maintenance, but it can’t hurt to have a Miniature Tool Kit available. Something small and portable with the basics – hammer, pliers, screw drivers – is a great present for college freshman beginning a life on their own.
Nearly every college student has a laptop these days, and it’s often hard to tell which computer belongs to which person. Personalize your friend’s laptop with a decal! Made for both Macs and PCs, decals make a laptop stand out. They’re also just fun and look cool!
News Flash: college freshman have to do laundry. Quarters will become your best friend freshman year because you’ll need them for laundry machines located in your dorm. Giving the gift of a roll of quarters (along with a card describing your intentions) is a very practical present. Your buddy will thank you when they get to school and realize a month in that they have no more clean undershirts.
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Last Recess we asked our readers to share advice from their own experiences involving campus visits. We were supposed to choose one winner to be featured as a guest blogger on the College Insider, but we just couldn’t choose! These three responses all had such great tidbits of advice for future college-bound students, that we couldn’t just pick one.
That said, here are three great pieces of advice on college visits.
Krystyna R. Waukesha, Wisc.
You should most definitely visit the college before applying there, especially if it is close enough for you to make the trip. Looking at the college website is not enough to gauge if you will enjoy living there for your college years. By going there, you can experience what is around the college – things to do, places to eat, etc. If you don’t like it, then don’t apply and this will save you a lot of time applying to college and also any fees that the colleges require with your application.
You should take the trip as soon as you have a college in mind, and dont just visit one. Visit as many as possible to pick the best one for you. Campus visits are very important and give you the chance to look at the school’s location, sports (if interested), tuition difference of living on or off campus, places to possibly get a job, etc. A campus visit was the crucial thing that made me choose my college!
Brittany K. Liberty, Ind
I would definitely suggest to every student that they visit each campus before they apply. By visiting before you apply, it gives you a much better chance to know whether you even want to go to that school. Some people think that they’re big-college students, and once they go visit a big campus like IU Bloomington or Miami University, they realize that a large campus isn’t for them, and so that gives them the opportunity to look at other colleges that are smaller in size and will focus more on their individual needs. Of course, it varies from person to person. Visiting before you apply to colleges also gives you a heads up for when you do get accepted: you can narrow your field down, and depending on the type of college you’re interested in, you can revisit and really get a feel for the colleges and see which one will fit YOUR needs the best.
Katie S. Louisville, Ky.
One thing that is definitely important is viewing the colleges of your choice. Websites can only go so far in showing the campus and the life and activities that are nestled within it. To get a real feel for it all, you need to at least visit once.
At my college, we are lucky to have a great program that shows potential college students our campus. You can schedule a tour of the campus, and they show you both on foot and on a bus. They also help to pair you with a teacher within the program of your interest to help give you a feel of the curriculum you will encounter.
All colleges have a method of showing their campuses to you, it’s just a matter of you contacting them and seeing what they can offer you. Some might just show you the campus, others might show you your program of interest, however you need to pick what will help you out to really get a feel for the school.
On top of getting a tour, you should see if you know someone who is currently at the school to give you their tour. I can’t tell you how important it is to see a school from the eyes of a current student. They can give you a different outlook of the school but also a more realistic one which might give you quite a bit of info that wasn’t told in that fancy bus tour.
One last thing to do: walk the campus. If this school is a serious contender, you’ll be walking there later on down the road, might as well get use to it now!
Need more help with campus visits? Try this!
It is spring break and your first semester of senior year has sped by. You just worked your tail off for all of junior year and first semester of senior year. You finish up your college applications and send them in. Your recommendations from teachers are all sent. Your SAT/ACT scores are sent. Everything is accounted for. Breathe a sigh of relief. Put the books away. Sun glasses on and you’re ready to chill. Right?
It is important to stay focused. This is not something you want to hear. We know that. After pushing yourself academically as hard as you have your whole life, and balancing that with extra-curricular activities and college applications, the same motivation is not there once the applications are submitted. We get it.
While you should definitely feel good about yourself and treat yourself to something nice, do not do anything that will jeopardize your future. You might hear your older friends telling you that your grades do not matter after first semester. They might say you can skip class, do a lousy job on your homework, or just slack off in general. This is not the right attitude to have.
What you might not think about is what will happen if you get waitlisted at your dream school. If that happens, it is very likely that they will look at your second semester grades. They might contact your guidance counselor to see how you are doing and get a more accurate view of you and your work ethic. Colleges might do this even if you’re ALREADY admitted, and they have the right to rescind applications!
In addition, if you get suspended, there is a good chance your high school will revoke your teacher recommendations or alert the colleges you are applying to your suspension. Doing something dumb like skipping classes can lead to all your hard work going down the drain.
Something else you should remember is that if you are in AP or IB classes, you really want to finish strong. Every college has different credit standards for those classes, so you definitely want to study as hard as you can for those exams and ace them. You do not want to arrive at college and have to repeat work you did in high school because you did not study for your exams. Testing out of a bunch of classes in college with AP or IB credits can also save you tens of thousands of dollars in tuition.
So remember: Don’t blow off second semester of senior year!! Keep yourself busy by applying for scholarships!
It’s April, and you have gotten into multiple colleges. All of a sudden what you dreamed of all along has become this overwhelming reality! First off, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations! You are in a great position!
While it may seem like a huge life decision you are not ready to make, there are easy ways to narrow down what schools you should be considering. It is always important, while you are deciding which school to go to, to remember that you are in a great position. While finding the right fit is important, a lot of the college experience is what you make of it and you will probably have a great and fulfilling time no matter where you go. Today I will be focusing on maximizing your experience during your campus visit.
Most schools will have a campus day for prospective students who have been accepted. If you have not been to visit the school yet, it is especially important to try to attend this. You will get a tour and the tables will have turned. As opposed to you trying to impress the schools, they will be doing everything they can to get you to attend. Even if you have already been to the school, this is still good to attend because sometimes your impressions will have changed and you will learn much more about the school.
When you are on campus, make an attempt to try to connect with someone you might know at the school. Whether it is a former high school friend who is older than you or a family friend or an alumni connection through your guidance counselor; it is crucial to get honest assessments from as many current students at the school as possible. Everyone is different, so it is important to take into account that while a school might seem great for someone, their experience might not necessarily be yours. Ask them what they love or dislike about their school. Most students around campus will tend to be positive about their school no matter what, so it is a good idea to try to get a really honest take on the school.
Better yet, even if your parents are staying in a hotel, try to stay with a student at the school in the dorms. This is the best way to see the school experience, meet a lot of current students, and see what life is really like at the school. Shadow this student to a day of classes (this might be difficult for some smaller classes but for general lectures you should be fine). At some schools, certain dorms have a specific kind of student that it caters to so remember to ask inquisitive questions to find out what the different types of dorms are to see what would be the right fit for you should you attend.
If you are applying to a specific school within a university or a smaller niche program, try to meet with professors within that program. Contact the department head in advance of your campus visit and ask to shadow a student for a day or sit in on classes. Many programs will be glad to facilitate you. A lot of professors are way more accessible than you think and you can find their emails through easy website searches.
Remember, prepare for your campus visit as much as possible to maximize how much you learn about the school!!
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