College Series: What To Pack

It’s back to school month – that means we’re providing you with articles each week to help you get ready for college. Our first of our College Series is ‘What To Pack.’ As the school year approaches it means one thing; packing. Packing is a pain, plain and simple. Some people pack way too much (every childhood photo and memento), while others don’t pack nearly enough (no towels = no fun).

Check out our list of what to pack from Health/Beauty to electronics:


These are a small list of things we believe you  need to bring to class. Other things, such as ‘EXTRAS’ might include:

  1. Brita Water
  2. Clorox wipes
  3. Flashlight
  4. Bicycle & helmet
  5. Board games
  6. Movies
  7. Rubber door stop
  8. Can opener


Did we forget something? Let us know what you pack in our discussion board.

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Keeping In Touch With Your Friends Over The Summer

With summer half way over, you might already be longing to be back at College or missing your friends. Keeping up with your college friends during the summer can be a good way to recreate all of those crazy and fun things you did last year. So here are some different and relatively simple ways to keep in touch with friends:




Skype/Facetime Set up an account, day and time to video chat. Skype is a great way to talk with your friends face-to-face and tell your story and let your friend know how you’re doing rather than through text. For those who have iPhones, FaceTime is equivalent to skyping and doesn’t require a computer. Make sure the person you are Facetiming has an iPhone otherwise you won’t be able to communicate.

Group Facebook Messages Create a message between you and some of your close friends is an easy way to stay in touch. You can share stories with and ask questions at the same time, rather than individually posting on their walls or messaging each one individually. As summer comes to a close, it’s also a great way to start planning things you’ll need for your apartment or any adventures you and your friends will be doing once your back on campus.




Did you say road trip? — If your friend is within driving distance, plan a long weekend to visit. Although this may be costly (or nearly impossible in some cases), it’s definitely worth the time to carve out a road trip with your best friends over the summer. Even though we all get caught up with our summer plans, it’s definitely worth it to spend some good travelling time.  If your friend lives too far away, plan to meet them halfway (pick a city somewhere in between that you both can find things to do).




Mail That’s right, snail mail. Send a letter or post card can be a simple and great way to remind your friends that you are thinking about them. Besides, who doesn’t like getting things in the mail.

Phone  Start up games on your smart phone that let you and a friend play together. It can be something so simple as Words With Friends. The point is to have fun and remind your friends of your existence.

Phone Call –  Picking up the phone and call a friend to check in is so much more personal and will ultimately make your bond stronger than just stalking them on social media. Yes, liking their pictures reminds them that you exist, but there is no feeling like getting a surprise phone call from a great friend. Take the extra minute once in a while to make a phone call. Even if your friend doesn’t answer, leave a funny voicemail, a recap of how you’ve been and let them know you’d like to hear from them.


What have you done to keep in touch with your friends this summer? Let us know here

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Perks of Online Summer Classes

With summer in full swing, there are probably a lot more things you would be doing right now than a summer class. Some schools are still accepting registrations for later summer sessions. I took multiple summer classes each summer to make the course load during the school year lighter. One summer I took 3 classes; two online, and one at a college back home in addition to a summer job. This means you can still enjoy your break while loading up on credits towards your degree. Before you say no, think about the perks of taking a summer class online.


▪ Fit’s your schedule – Since the course is provided online, you don’t need to be in the classroom at any specific time. Having flexibility in your schedule enables you to work at a time that’s best for you.

▪ Fits your location – One upside to living in a digital age is that learning is more versatile than ever before. As long as you have an internet connection, you can take your lessons any place you want. This is a great opportunity for those that live remotely or those that travel and want to earn a degree.

▪ Pace – Since the course outline is laid out for you at the start of the class (what’s due, tests/homework each week) you can plan ahead allowing you to pace yourself and work accordingly. You can work on your course anytime you like.  Make sure you manage your time to ensure you finish what’s assigned and due each week.

▪ Freedom of attendance – In the online classroom, instructors generally structure the classroom fairly loosely. If there’s a discussion prompt, for example, it’s likely you’ll get a few days to respond rather than being “in class” at a certain time every day. You can still have a summer break with time to hang with friends.

▪ Credits can transfer – Do some research and see if your school has a transfer credit evaluation tool. This tool allows you to enter courses you have taken or plan to take at another institution and view if it’s transferable to your school.

Cheaper – It sounds cliché but taking a summer class is sometimes cheaper than taking it during the school year. In addition to having no cost of living while at home, you can eliminate transportation expenses, as opposed to taking it at a nearby community college.

What do you think about online summer classes or have you taken summer classes? Continue the discussion here

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Top Tips From Seniors To Incoming Freshmen

College is the time to try new things, meet new people, and make new experiences. The things is, it can all fall apart if you don’t have a clear idea of what you are getting into. We asked graduating seniors what advice they would give incoming freshmen. Be sure to make the best of your college experience with these tips from graduating college seniors.

College grad -cap & gown pondering

“Make new friends.”
“Learn how to balance and prioritize” – keep up with your school assignments because it’s easy to get behind and tough to catch up.
“Get involved in school activities and attend big events like football games.”
“Stay healthy by exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep.”
“Set up a plan for keeping in touch with your family; take control and communicate regularly. “
“Don’t be afraid if you don’t join a club your first semester but be sure to go to club showcase so you can learn about all the clubs/sororities/fraternities that the college has to offer.”
“Remember, you aren’t alone” – There are thousands of incoming freshmen that are going through this with you, and even more who have already survived freshmen year. Take comfort in that.
“Your teachers are there to help you” – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’ve all been there before.
“Upperclassmen really aren’t so bad” – They were in your shoes only a year or so back. They understand how you feel and you can always go to them if you have questions about your major or about certain classes.
“Do your homework” – Sure, it seems like ‘busy work’ but it’s only making you better.
“Naps are an amazing thing.”
“Everyone has a freshman roommate story, be it good or bad.”
“Be yourself.”
▪ “Be patient if everything isn’t perfect right away; it will work out if you give it time.”
“Having a part-time job can be a good way to meet people and earn your own spending money.”
“Make sure you do your laundry.”
“You can’t live off Ramen Noodles and Mac N’ Cheese.”


Jon’s Top Tip for Incoming Freshmen:

“Most importantly, take advantage of the next four years of your life. Have fun, make friends, memories, and experiences. Four years will fly by so make sure you make the most of it. To quote “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.””


What tips would you give incoming freshmen? Continue the discussion and let us know what tips you would give freshmen.

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Social Media Recap: April

Another edition of this month’s best links is coming your way. Find out the prons and cons to living on campus, what it takes to have a killer interview and what tips we have for finals in this month’s Social Media Recap!


  1. Career Fairs: Everything You Need To Know
  2. Interviews: Everything You Need To Know
  3. 8 Pros and Cons of Living On Campus in College
  4. Final Exams: Big Final Four Tips  – written by College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals authors Malcolm and Sue.
  5. 4 Great Study Strategies to Tackle Finals

Links worth reading:

  1. 6 Signs a Job is Right For You
  2. How to show your personality in an interview (but stay professional)
  3. 23 Science-Backed Study Tips to Ace a Test
  4. 4 Reasons your college GPA won’t matter once you graduate
  5. Skipping College Means Missing Out On At Least $800,000 Over A Lifetime, Study Finds
  6. 15 Things your commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You About Life After College

Last week we stumbled upon this HILARIOUS video. For some, finals week were last week and for others, they haven’t started yet. This video, a parody of ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ highlights the struggle we all face while studying for finals.


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4 Great Study Strategies to Tackle Finals

Finals week, the last hurdle before summer/graduation has finally arrived. Don’t worry though, you’re almost finished and either soon to be graduating or at home relaxing for a few months. Here are our four study strategies which can be used to tackle late-night study sessions and to make finals week a breeze.


Set a specific, Achievable Goal - For example, write the following phrase: “I will do nothing else until I ____.”

This specific, achievable goal helps you stick with what you are setting out to complete and allows for you to visually see what you want to get done before you can relax or catch up on Netflix.

Make a schedule

You have a goal for studying this evening after dinner? Great! Make a schedule of how much time you are going to spend on studying, writing your essay or making notecards. For example, this structure might work for you:

  • ●  40 minutes: Complete a task. This might be re-reading a chapter, going over problems, running through that 100 stack of flash cards or finalizing your essay. Try to stick to a one or two tasks in this time period so you don’t overdo it. Also, don’t cheat and check the internet. You got this!
  • ●  5 minutes:  Aww yeah! Check your phone/social media! Get your tweet on.  Be sure to set your timer for this and don’t exceed the allotted time.
  •   4 minutes: Step away from your work desk to get a snack/drink. Get a quick stretch in and make it a ‘break.’
  •   Repeat as needed – I find sticking within an hour limits you to what you wish to get done. If you take the above structure you set yourself to a pattern that sets you up for success.


Find a study buddy

Pick a friend who’s equally committed to studying and getting work that isn’t afraid to seriously work and be studying for a couple hours. This person should be motivate your own work session and help you stay focused.  For finals, said buddies can help you with essays, reviewing note-cards or asking you questions from your study guide. Additionally, study buddies help you

Find the right study environment

This can be your special area in the library (for me it was in the corner window of the library), a quiet place in the coffee shop with minimal background noise, or your bedroom (your study materials are easily at hand). Wherever it may be, make sure it’s good for you so that you can study and focus at the task at hand.

What are your study strategies to tackle finals? Let us know by discussing it on our blog

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Final Exams: Big Final Four Tips

From Malcolm & Sue Kahn, authors of College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals:

To become a team competing in a final four competition, the players must carefully prepare to win their final games.  Just like the players on such a team (for example, the University of Connecticut Huskies—the 2014 NCAA champions), you can plan a winning performance for your final exams.  Here are our big final four tips:


1.  Teams that win tournaments engage in planning by scheduling strategy meetings and practices to analyze ways to win against their opponents.  Successful students plan for finals by applying principles of time management.  This means completing all assignments and required reading for each class early enough that you can begin actual study about a week before your scheduled final exam.  Implement a study plan for each exam, questioning yourself along the way to be sure you understand the material.

2.  Players watch films of their opponents to learn what to expect in a big game.  Similarly, students can pay careful attention to any information professors provide about what to expect on the final exam.  Learn from your previous tests the kinds of questions your professor prefers to use—are the questions usually from the textbook, from lectures, from outside readings?  If you can, review your previous tests from the professor to see what questions you missed, and determine what you can do to improve for the final.

3.  To achieve victory, players must be at their peak on the day of the big competition.  Students taking final exams must also be at their peak on final exam day.  You can complete your last review the night before the final exam and schedule a good night’s sleep.  Don’t expect to learn anything new on exam day; just skim over your material to trigger your recall.  Getting yourself psyched without becoming too nervous will enhance your concentration as you answer exam questions.

4.  During competition, players must “read” their opponents’ offensive and defensive moves and respond appropriately.  During final exams, students must read both exam directions and questions very carefully.  Quickly preread through the entire test before beginning, noting how many points a section of an exam is worth and allotting time for that section accordingly.  For objective tests, read all of the answer choices before making your decision.  For essay tests, carefully read the essay question and write a precise, organized answer.


Thanks for the helpful tips, Malcolm and Sue! How do you best prepare for finals? Let us know! Join the discussion

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8 Pros and Cons of Living On Campus in College

Whether you are living on campus now or thinking of going back, you know there are some serious downsides to living in university-owned housing.  Personally, I feel every student should live on campus at least one year (the first year typically works best).


Con #1: The Bad Roommate.

  • ▪ If you don’t pick your roommate from high school or you do and simply don’t get along with them as well as you thought you would, you can easily wind up with a terrible roommate that you don’t get along with at all.  I had one my first year, but fortunately he was rarely around so I survived.

Con #2: Community Bathrooms

  •  ▪ For those of you bearing this burden, you know the struggle is real.  I personally believe it is worse for the females than for the guys, but it certainly isn’t pleasant for anyone when you have an emergency and all the stalls are full.

Con #3: Limited Space

  • ▪ Whether you’re living with a roommate or in a single room, your space is going to be limited.  Residence hall rooms are known (infamously) for being small.  You won’t have as much as space as an apartment or house would offer you, but you can make the most of it.

Pro #1: Building Community

  • ▪ Especially in your first year, you won’t know many people outside of the ones you knew from high school which may not be anyone.  Living on campus with other first year students and sharing things like bathrooms and other common spaces forces you to meet new people, build your friend base and prepares you for the remaining college years to come.

Pro #2: Meal Availability

  • ▪ Living on campus means you can’t really cook for yourself, but that also means you have dining courts and multiple food options on campus with you that you can use.  Your room and board should include a meal plan and get you a set amount of meals to hopefully last you throughout the year.


Full story, found at Hack College8 Pros and Cons of Living On Campus in College.


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Interviews: Everything You Need To Know

Even for the most fearless amongst us, job interviews can be nerve wracking. In order to give you the best chance at succeeding with interviews, we’ve prepared a list of suggestions, tips and types of interviews you may experience as you strive towards landing that job.

First, knowing what type of interview to expect can help you better prepare. These include:

Screening or phone interview-

  • This cost effective way to screen candidates can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Prepare for it like an open book exam, having your resume, the job description, answers to common interview questions (hyperlink) and questions to ask the interviewer. Since they can’t see your body language, be sure to have an energetic tone and polished answers.

Individual Interview -

  • Individual interviews, more commonly known as one-on-one, take place at the business’s office.  This interview may last anywhere from 30-90 minutes. If the interview is 30 minutes, you will want to be concise and to the point with your answers. If the interview is 60-90 minutes, you’ll want to elaborate on your responses.

Skype interview -

  • In today’s global workplace, more and more employers are going with Skype to interview potential candidates. It allows the interviewer to easily see the candidate and their body language.


Once you have an idea of what type of interview to expect for, it’s time to prepare. Here are some helpful tips.

Phone Interview

  • ▪  Keep the noise down – find a quiet place to do the interview
  • ▪  Review your application materials
  • ▪  Create cheat sheets with possible answer outlines
  • ▪  Have great questions to ask
  • ▪  Research the organization and current news
  • ▪  Keep your answers brief (1-2 minutes)
  • ▪  Be enthusiastic so you don’t sound flat
  • ▪  Send a professional thank you email

Individual Interview

3a3851b41fee4e4abbd0b3292e971535 (click to enlarge)

For what to wear

Skype Interview

  • ▪ Keep the noise down – find a quiet place to do the interview
  • ▪ Create a professional username in Skype
  • ▪ Watch for the delay – web based interview connections can sometimes lag behind the internet
  • ▪ Dress for the occasion – wear neutral, solid colors

With these suggestions in mind, you’ve set yourself up for success.


Here are some more helpful images to prepare you for your upcoming interview! Good luck on your interview and remember, confidence is key!


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Career Fairs: Everything You Need To Know


Attending a career fair can be intimidating: the long lines, crowds of people and the somewhat awkward “mini-chats” with companies. Career fairs provide opportunities to connect face-to-face with company representatives that can elaborate on the company and positions currently available and might be the ones who make the hiring decision. From preparation to follow ups, the following tips will allow you to maximize your time and make a great impression at the fair.

Jon’s Career Fair Tips:

Do your research
Compile the right materials
Plan your route
Bring your a-game
Perfect (and customize) your pitch
Be enthusiastic, not desperate
Be open minded
Sell yourself not just your resume
Ask questions and be engaging
Don’t hesitate to talk to an employer
Find out how to follow up
Don’t wear out your welcome


Do your research:

Prior to the career fair, you will have access to a list of all companies attending. This list is usually found on your campuses career center website. At the career fair you won’t be able to talk to everyone so narrow your list down to 4-6 companies and plan to only visit those companies that you’re interested in. Once your list is narrowed down go through and research the company’s website. This allows you to see if the company is interested in you (looking for internships or full-time etc.) and allows you to read the qualifications of the position to see if you’re a good fit.

Once you have a feel for the company, visit a website called Glassdoor which allows you to research employee reviews of the company. In addition, the website allows you to review employee satisfaction, median salary for the job, job openings, and potential interview questions the company may ask you.

Compile the right materials:

Make sure all copies of your resume are printed on resume paper. Refrain from using color or graphics on your resume as it will distract the employer from reviewing your resume and may result in you not looking professional on paper. Business cards are optional but provide a professional way to deliver information to recruiters if they need to get in contact with you. Finally, bring a pad-folio to hold your resume, handouts and business cards.

Plan your route:

It’s time to plan which companies you are going to visit first (visit companies in the order of your interest level) since lines and crowds will always be unpredictable. Try to attend the career fair in the early parts of the event rather than the last hour. Towards the end, recruiters start to lose enthusiasm and may try to cut out early from the event.

Bring your a-game:

Bring a positive attitude, professionalism and your a-game. Don’t chew gum, suck on mints, or eat or drink anything in front of recruiters. You want a job don’t you? Professional attire is also a must – don’t wear white socks. There’s no point in wearing a nice suit if you’re going to put on white socks and make yourself stand out in a negative way. In fact, some recruiters may interview you on-the-spot or immediately after the career fair so show potential employers you’re serious.

Attire for Men:

  • Present a clean-shaven face or neatly trimmed beard.
  • A tailored suit or jacket with a shirt and tie are a minimum.
  • Comfortable dress shoes
  • Dark conservative suits with a white, pressed shirt for underneath
  • Wear dark socks with polished dress shoes
  • Hair should be combed, clean and neat


Attire for Women:

  • Wear minimal make up. Avoid bright colors, sparkles or glitter
  • Traditional business attire is dark conservative skirt suit or pant suit
  • Wear a blouse with a tailored collar or neckline
  • Avoid large scarves that are distracting
  • Heels should be no higher than two inches
  • Hosiery should be neutral or blend with the suit color
  • Wear an appropriate watch and keep jewelery to a minimum
  • Hair should be combed clean and neat with long hair pulled away from the face



Talk to as many people as you can at each company. This allows you to get an understanding for a company through multiple perspectives and allows for a company to get to know you.

Perfect (and customize) your pitch:

Your elevator speech  should include information that can highlight everything on your resume to an employer in less than 30 seconds (typical length of an elevator ride). Any more than 30 seconds and you run the risk of boring a recruiter. Remember, KISS (Keep It Short & Sweet) when practicing your elevator speech. Be sure to practice your elevator speech on your second choice employers before approaching your top company. This way, your top company will be able to see you at your best.

Be enthusiastic and not desperate:

Approach each recruiter with fresh enthusiasm, make eye contact and smile. If a recruiter isn’t holding anything, extend your arm for a firm handshake. Having a weak handshake allows for the employer to internalize that you’re not as interested as they are to be talking. When you approach a recruiter, state your name, your background/major, your pitch and what you would like to do. Don’t be desperate and immediately ask if they are hiring.

Be open minded:

Some companies name’s you might not recognize. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad company. If you are unsure about a company, research them and get an understanding for what they do and how you might be a great fit with them. Additionally, don’t limit yourself geographically. The important thing is to work for a company you believe in.

Sell yourself not just your resume:

This is a great time to talk about and sell you. Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes at career fairs. The important thing they are looking for is strong communication skills and attributes of potential candidates. You may consider talking about extracurricular activities you were involved in or the research/projects you did for a class. Sell why you should be hired and don’t limit yourself to your resume for selling you.

Ask questions and be engaging:

For each company you plan to visit, come up with a few open ended questions that are thoughtful. It’s important you ask things that you can’t easily find online when doing your research.

A question may include:

“What type of background and experience do you find to be the most successful in (position)?

The important take away here is to break the ice and let companies know you’re interested.

Don’t hesitate to talk to an employer just because the booth is next to a recruiter with whom you’ve just spoken to:

Recruiters talk to several hundred students at each career fair. Just like them, you are looking for a company to be a part of. Don’t be afraid to go to every booth and talk but remember your list of companies you made.

Find out how to follow up:

Ask recruiters for business cards so that you may thank them for taking the time to talk about the position and company. This is a great way for recruiters to see your communication skills (with following up via email) and lets them know you are interested.

Don’t wear out your welcome:

You’ve nailed your introduction and pitch, learned about the company and position and have asked thought provoking questions. It’s time to wrap up the conversation and say “It was nice to meet you” then start to walk away. If a recruiter wants to know more he/she will stop you from leaving. It’s better to end a conversation a bit early than to drag it out and make it an awkward situation for both you and the recruiter.

Career Fair Recap: 


  • List of employers
  • Company websites
  • Company reviews (glassdoor)
  • Yourself


  • Resume
  • Business Cards
  • Pad-folio


  • Make eye contact
  • Firm handshake
  • Speak clearly
  • Elevator speech/pitch



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