What Questions to ask During an Open House

questionsDo you have the mom who ALWAYS asks questions on campus tours? I love her! It’s true that you don’t really know about a college campus until you visit it. There are a number of ways you can do this, drive by, walk around on your own, take a tour, spend the night with a friend, attend a sporting event…just to name a few. One GREAT way to see a campus and many of it’s moving pieces is to visit for an Open House. These days are usually long and intense. There will be professors, students, admissions staff, directors of programs, athletics, booths set up by different clubs and organizations, various information sessions to attend and of course, tours of the campus. You can attend an Open House without preparing, just show up and you’ll get a ton of information about the school you’re visiting. However, I suggest you come prepared with questions. Open Houses are a great way for YOU to learn if a school meets YOUR wants and needs. This is your chance to have questions answered from students, professors, specific club members, programs, and admissions. I love getting questions from students. It shows that they are interested in the school and it helps you form a relationship with someone at that school which will be helpful if you decide to attend that school.

So, what do you ask to find out more about the school?

Questions for a current student

1. Does the school offer any programs to help with the transition to college?

2. How’s the food? How is living in the dorm?

3. How did you pick your major?

4. Have you done any internships? How did you get them?

5. What one thing would you change about the school?

Other questions

1. Is there wireless access? Are the study rooms/library open 24-7?

2. Are professors easy to meet with outside of class?

3. Is there tutoring available?

4. What is career services like? Where do most people get jobs?

5. Can you change your major?

6. How is campus safety? Is there a medical facility on campus?

Questions NOT to ask

1. Personal questions to students and/or professors is a no go!

2. Questions about illegal activities i.e. where do freshman get alcohol? Where can I buy a fake ID? Are drugs easy to get on campus? (you would be surprised what I’ve been asked…)

 

Scholarships For YOU!

scholarshipsThere is so much free money out there, Millions of dollars remain unclaimed every year because no one applies for some scholarships. Don’t give up on searching for the money. A $1,000 scholarship may not seem like a lot when you’re looking at a tuition bill of $20,000 or $30,000 but if you apply for 10 scholarships and get them, that’s $10,000! I had a friend in college who made it her part time job over her four year education to search and apply for scholarships. Every few months she had a check being sent to our school to go towards her tuition bill.  She graduated with hardly ANY loans to pay off. Take the time now to fill out that application, write that essay or sit for that interview to earn some money. Regardless of where you are looking for scholarships, everyone should be looking.

Here are 4 GREAT scholarships websites

  1. Scholarships.com is a free and very well laid out, user-friendly website. You have to create an account to get started, then you can save your favorite scholarships to view later. Scholarships are organized into different searchable categories such as Scholarships Trending Now, Scholarships By Grade Level, Scholarships By Major, Scholarships By State, Scholarships for Women, Sports Scholarships, Minority Scholarships, and Unusual Scholarships. The site also has scholarship applications tips and resources. Scholarships.com boasts over 2.7 million scholarship listings totaling $19 million in winnable funds.
  2. CollegeBoard is a website that should be a familiar website to most students who took the SATs and any AP courses. It is a private, free website that is updated regularly by staff and is highly accredited. Around 2,300 scholarships are listed with a value of closing in on $3 billion.
  3. FastWeb is a private and free site. Scholarships over 11 months old are automatically deleted from the database so that it stays current. There are videos on the site to give advice to students, sweepstakes and special promotions, and a list of common scholarship deadlines. It offers around 1.5 million scholarships totaling around $3.4 billion in funds.
  4. CollegeNet is a site that lets you search for scholarships based on their content with Keyword Search or based on your personal information and what you qualify for with Profile Search. CollegeNet also offers this great feature that allows students to open discussions in the forums. The conversation topics get voted on based on how interesting they are; the student with the most interesting conversation wins money to the tune of $300-$5000. It is private and updates monthly.

Juniors Starting the College Search

Attention high school juniors!  Now is the time to start your college search process.  Have any of you attended your schools college night event or sit and chat with your guidance counselor about college?  Are you overwhelmed?  There is so much information, so many new terms you’ve never heard of, the fear of the unknown, where do you even begin?  Well, first off – take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for starting this process now.  This is the beginning and you have plenty of time to do your search but where do you start?

Heeeeeeeere we go – Starting the process 101:

  1. Go buy a notebook or binder – as you search schools online or attend college visits (which btw is the best way to see a school) start taking notes.  Separate your notebook/binder into a few pages for University A, University B, and so on.  Take notes on what you like, didn’t like, who you met, contact names of professors and admissions staff, and most importantly take notes on the admissions process including deadlines, tips the admissions staff give you, admissions criteria, etc.
  2. Take your classes seriously!  The better your grades the more options for applying to schools.  Also, admissions staff love to see an upward trend on students transcripts.  If you did poorly in 9th and 10th grade but picked up your grades in 11th grade it can help your chances of getting in (remember, I work in college admissions).
  3. Ask questions – students don’t know what to ask when they visit colleges, go on tour, and talk with admissions counselors.  Go on the Google and type in ‘questions to ask on a college tour’ and then click around on different links, find questions that you really want to know about and ASK them when you visit schools… yes YOU ask them.  Admissions counselors pick up on little things – personally I love when a student comes right up to me and ask’s me a question rather than hiding behind Mom or Dad.  It will be uncomfortable the first few times but find your confidence and ask those questions.

Just a few tips – easy enough, start your search!

college | time

{gms}

High School Habits to Break Before College

I sat down today planning on giving you my advice on college professor’s pet peeves.  I figured it was a good time to start talking about these things because many of you are starting to move into your colleges and universities now and for all of you freshman this is the beginning of ‘Professor’ life, no more ‘Teacher’ life.  Buuuuuut, I started reading my daily news sources to catch up on what’s happening around the world and I found a really good and humorous article about “High School Habits to Break Before College” and I couldn’t help but share it with you.  I found it on the Huffington Post today and here we go….

“Incoming college freshmen, take note: University life comes with an unwritten rule book. Break any one of these regulations and your lowly freshman status will instantly be revealed. (Quick tip: Don’t wear your school’s lanyard around your neck. Just don’t.)

Luckily for college newbies, Reddit uses compiled a handy list last week of high school habits to drop before you set foot on campus. Read below to soak up their wisdom. Before you know it, you’ll be a college pro, too.

  1. Your life isn’t over if you walk  into class late.  Just calmly go in and take a seat.  You’ll be fine.
  2. Yes.  It will be on the test.
  3. Don’t make excuses for late or missing work.  Unless the professor is brand new, we’ve heard many well-crafted fake excuses.
  4. After a test, you don’t have to stick around.  Pack your stuff and leave quietly.
  5. Acting like you’re the coolest kid around is extremely annoying.  No one cares about how much you drank last night.  If it’s that impressive people will brag for you.
  6. Stop asking random people for a piece of gum when they take it out of their bag.  Get your own gum.
  7. Stop asking people what they got on SAT/ACT/AP/whathaveyou… nobody cares.
  8. Don’t fall victim to “no more parents, no more rules”; especially on food.
  9. If you are sick do not bring a note from your parents.
  10. Don’t wear those stupid lanyards with the school name around your neck.
  11. Don’t shout out snide comments during class trying to get people to laugh.  We don’t care if “that’s what she said” we just want to learn.
  12. Don’t be the kid who talks about being gifted/skipping a grade/your average in high school.  If you go to a good school, everyone else is just as smart.  If you go to an okay school no one gives two shits about that.”

These were great!  Thank’s Huffington Post!

If any of you readers have advice as to what habits students should drop when they become college students please post below.

 

Packing For College

Has anyone started yet?  If I remember correctly I think I started packing or at least thinking about what to pack as soon as I graduated high school.  It can seem like a daunting task, having to pack up your life and bring it to your new home.  What do you bring?  How do you actually pack? Will it all fit?  Natural concerns of course.  In this post I am going to give you some ideas to keep in mind when packing and then at the end i’ll give you a list of what to pack.

First thing to keep in mind – You can and will buy stuff when you are at school.  This includes clothes, food, toiletries, etc.  If you forget something, if you need something, you can buy it when you’re at school. You will not be living in a bubble, you can leave and go shopping.

Make a list.  This is probably the best thing to do at first in order to keep you sane and organize your thoughts.  Get a pen and paper and start writing.  Otherwise you’ll start packing stuff and then forget what you packed and then double pack and you’ll end up with so much sh*t you don’t need.

Garbage bags are an easy way to pack clothes, they also make it each to pack the car because you can squish them and stuff them to fit better in the trunk.  If you don’t want to buy boxes to pack everything else just go to a liquor store and ask for cardboard boxes, they always have extras and they’ll give them to you for free.  Make sure to label the boxes with your name, dorm building and room number in case they get lost while you’re moving in on hectic move in day.

Here’s some of the stuff to add to your list and things to keep in mind that people sometimes forget:

  1. Clothes – there is no need to pack for the entire year.  When the season’s change you’ll bring home your summer clothes and get your winter clothes.  More times than none you’ll be wearing sweats, t-shirts, and comfy hang out clothes.  As you pack, if you lift up a shirt that you’ve never worn and say ‘i should bring this i’m sure i’ll wear it at some point’  put it back in your drawer, you still will never wear it.  If you’re concerned about whether you should bring your ball gown for an event that might happen, don’t bring it.  You can either buy a new one (which you’ll probably want to do) or get it  from home when you come back to visit.
  2. Toiletries – get a bathroom travel caddie, or basket, or bucket to carry your shower stuff  (shampoo, conditioner, loofah, body wash, shave gel, razor, etc.) to the shower.  Don’t forget towels, shower flip flops (the showers can get gross), deodorant, perfume
  3. School Supplies – pens, highlighters, stapler, tape, scissors.  I usually brought 1 binder for each course… don’t forget loose leaf paper.
  4.  Laundry basket – you will definitely want one of these to keep all your dirty clothes in one spot instead of scattered around your room.  Get one that is easy to carry that way when it get’s full you can easily transport it down to the washers and dryers.
  5. Laundry Detergent – while costco or BJ’s brand will save you money it is not wise to get the bulk box because you will not enjoy carrying it down to the washers and dryers, buy the extra concentrated detergent, one little cap full will wash an entire load of laundry.
  6. Small tool kit – if you can find one, pick it up.  A small hammer or screw driver comes in handy often.
  7. iPod dock – music, music, music
  8. Hangers – you can never have enough hangers
  9. One set of cup, bowl, plate, fork, knife, and spoon – also think about a can opener and bottle opener
  10. Clorox wipes – life savers
  11. Power strip with surge protector – you will have lots to plug in from laptops, printers, desk lamps, etc.
  12. Extension cord – in case the spot where you put you TV doesn’t have a close enough outlet
  13. Fan – it gets warm
  14. Umbrella and rain jacket – you will not enjoy walking to class if you are soaking wet, this is a necessity
  15. Bedding – get an egg crate or mattress pad for your extra long twin and put the down before you put your sheets on, my bed at college was like a marshmallow
  16. DO NOT BRING – really expensive things (clothes, bags, jewelry, etc.) things can get easily ruined at college and unfortunately people aren’t always honest and things get stolen more times than you’d think.
  17. DO NOT BUY – all the college gadgets and add on’s on that are in the stores.  Some of them are good and worth the money but wait until you move into your dorm room before you buy them.  Once you know what it’s like to live in a dorm room you can visit those sections in the store and see if you really need the extra things.

COLLEGE PHOTO – Freshman year dorm room – moving in

 

High School Relationships

Well, this one is a little more of a challenge for me given I didn’t have any serious high school relationships or a boyfriend that I had to say goodbye to when I went off to college.  However, at the end of the day a relationship is a relationship and emotions run wild, especially when it’s time to leave the one you love.  I’m sure many of you have serious boyfriends and girlfriends and are soon heading off to college.  Have you talked to each other about what you are going to do?  If not, you should.  Here are some things that you need to think about first.  Then, if you and your significant other decide you want to give a shot and try and stay together you can continue to read down the post and see the few pieces of advice I have for you in trying to keep a long distance relationship work.  By the way, most people believe they have found their true love and the only option is to stay together even though we both know you’re secretly thinking, “will this even work?”

So first off – here are the things to think about.

1. Just break up with them – the stress of keeping a relationship on top of the change of heading to college is just too much and if it’s meant to be, it will be no matter what even if it’s years later.

2. The break up bench – usually all schools have them.  On the weekend, there is always a girl on the break up bench, crying hysterically on her cell phone while the relationship ends.

3. College is full of raging hormones – this is prime time to meet as many people as you can, learn what type of person is the best fit for you and to have fun (remember to be safe!)

4. Often times to relationship you had changes – you go from a fun, high school, see-each-other-all-the-time relationship to a long distance relationship and checking with your bf/gf throughout the day becomes a major annoyance.

5. You will change – college changes people, you learn who you really are and many times the person you become isn’t the best fit for your high school sweetheart and guess what… that’s okay!

6. Insecurities will absolutely fly in – when he/she doesn’t answer their phone Friday night, you will start thinking about who they’re with and what they’re doing.

7. Just break up with them – did I say that already?  

Okay, so maybe i’m being a bit harsh so let me transition to the advice for those of you who honestly believe you’ve found the love of your life and are willing to do anything to stay together in college.

1. Communication – holy cow, communication!  This is the most important thing in all relationships.  Talk now about your expectations.  When you go to college be completely honest with each other.  If you’ve met somebody the first week and they sweep you off your feet, tell you bf/gf that it’s just not going to work – never, never, never cheat on them!

2. Trust each other – if you don’t trust each other completely, it will never work.

3. Visit – you need to understand that keeping this relationship is going to take work, if you go into college thinking, ‘well, let’s just see what happens’ it probably won’t work.  You need to put the effort in to visit each other, take time away from your friends to have a phone conversation of skype time.

4. Make is fun – like any long distance relationship you need to keep in fresh and fun.  Send hand written letters or cards, send care packages, surprise each other, get to know their roommate so you can make surprise visits or ask politely ask for a night alone in the room.

5. Keep yourself busy – this is SO important.  You can’t make your entire day about your bf/gf.  If you don’t talk to them for a few hours, they will still love you at the end of the day and if they don’t or if they get mad because you didn’t text when you were walking from one class to the next, it’s time to dump their butt.  You need to enjoy college for yourself and if he/she is the one, they will fit in no matter what.

6. Finally, stay positive.  If if works, congratulations and if it doesn’t work, I promise it’s not the end of the world you will meet the love of your life when the time is right.

Hope you enjoyed Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom!

Much love,

G

High School vs. College

Do you know that college is different than high school?  No kidding, right?  In fact, it is very different.  Over the next few weeks I will be entertaining you with posts about those differences.  Obviously I’m a bit bias but college is seriously better than high school.  Get excited!!!  and then come back and visit for your inside (ice cream) scoop (i love ice cream) to learn whatcha gettin’ yourself into.

~it’s a good day~

Gab