Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So You Made it to College, Now What?

You spent an enormous amount of time filling out applications, visiting schools, studying for and completing your SAT’s, and taking pre-exams.  You got accepted.  You are all moved in…now what do you do?  Well you already know that you should go to class, study, and have fun, right?  This sounds good, but you still need a strategy or game plan for the entire 4+ years if you are going to succeed.  At any college or university you will find a lot of activities, organizations, and free time.  Without some measure of planning or structure, you might find yourself learning a little of everything, or leaving school early for not learning anything at all.  In order to avoid this, make sure you do the following:

1.)   Set goals before each semester and year.  You hear this all the time, and know it works, but only a few do this on a regular basis.  Think of it as setting your GPS before going on that long trip.  Even though you might make some stops or hit some detours on the way, you will most likely end at your proper destination.

2.)   Limit non-educational activities during your freshman year.  Being involved in extra-curricular activities can be very beneficial and fun.  However, your education should always come first.  For the majority of students, attending college for the first time requires some adjustment.  Being heavily involved in an organization, participating in too many activities, or spending too much time with friends, can help you lose focus on the primary goal of getting an education and graduating on time.

3.)   Don’t wait too long to choose your major.  Declaring a major is a strong sign to you and others of having direction in life, even if that direction changes.  If you are “undecided”, still choose a focus of study that might become your major.  If it does become your major, you will be ahead of the game with qualifying credits.  If not, you will at least find out what you “don’t” want to do, which a lot of times is more important in this stage of your life.

4.)   Push yourself to be, at least, slightly different than your normal high school self.  The old saying is, “If you continue to think what you have always thought, you will continue to do what you have always done.  If you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to get what you have always gotten.”  College is not only about academic learning; but it is also about self-learning, which is more important?  Getting that “A” in Biochemistry will be very rewarding.  However, knowing that you pushed yourself to overcome some of your fears, reservations, or limitations that you always had will be just as, or even more, rewarding.   

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4 Simple College Safety Tips!

Being away from home can be a fun and exciting experience.  But with parties, meeting new people, and the availability and access of alcohol, a seemingly safe environment can in an instant turn very dangerous.  You can help reduce the risk of putting yourself in a bad situation by following some simple rules:

1.)  Keep You Door Slightly Open.  This holds especially true for someone you are meeting for the first time.  Whether they are a new friend or a study partner, keeping your dorm room open is a great way to stay safe.  It not only puts your visitor at a disadvantage for an attack; but it also lets the individual know that you control your environment.  In addition, it also lets your neighbors know that you do not want full privacy with this individual.  If they see you shut your door when this individual comes to your room, they will automatically assume that you trust them and so should they.  Therefore, they will be less likely to intervene if they hear unusual noises or any type of disruption coming from your room.

2.)  Keep Friends Informed.  It is everyone’s hope that you would never be in a bad situation, but keeping friends or family informed of your whereabouts and who you are with are vital.  However, many make the mistake of informing everyone before they are actually going out with this new individual or group.  In order to prevent a bad situation from occurring, you always want to let the individual(s) you’re hanging out with know that other people know as well.  Therefore, make that call to your best friend or mom while your date is right next to you.  Your date or group will be less likely to do something inappropriate or violent.

3.)  Use Campus Transportation.  When back to your room during the late night, do not hesitate to call campus police for an escort, or use campus transportation if available.  Campus police is there for this very reason, and would rather work on preventing an incident than dealing with one.

4.)  Follow Your Instincts.  I just can’t stress this enough.  If you feel like you are in a bad situation or something is wrong, most likely it is.  Don’t wait to find out if you or correct or not….it’s time to go!

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How to Choose the Right College?

Selecting the right college is a very important and tough decision.  The wrong decision could mean an early transfer, drop-out, or 4+ years of misery.  However, you can easily make the right decision by taking into consideration the following three factors that are typically forgotten:

1.)  Location.  Many parents and future college students equate this to just being in or out-of-state, or being close or far away from home.  Thinking only in these terms is a big mistake.  You have to also consider if your institution has easy access to transportation services (bus, train, taxi…etc.) with routes close to your hometown.  Now if you have your own car or have superparents who don’t mind transferring you back and forth, this may not be an issue.  If not, you could be only two hours away and still no way to get home for Thanksgiving break.

2.)  Emotional Environment.  Simply stated, this is how you felt when you were on the campus for the first time.  Some individuals from large cities want a change and like a small rural campus and vice-versa.  Others feel comfortable with environments that are similar to their home.  But, call it intuition, gut feeling, or even say you felt the stars aligned when you were there, no one can argue you following your instincts.  Therefore, try to visit all the institutions on your list, especially the ones at the top.

3.)  College Options.  Some forget that colleges must also pick them as well.  Therefore, apply to many institutions.  Three to five applications would be adequate.  This would include applying to your dream school, even if you don’t think you will get accepted; your best choice; and your alternative, which is just in case the others do not accept you.  In life, options are always the best choice.

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Next Post:  4 Simple College Safety Tips!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Support and Social Networking

About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to build a social networking site.  The piece that would set mine apart from other networks would be the fact that it is geared toward College Students and their Family and Friends, incorporated with a donation feature directly from the site via PayPal.  I was also able to recently upgrade my site; and it now has many more features including Facebook Connect. 

I wanted my site to be a place where Family and Friends can stay connected and support their college students.  When your child goes away to college, you most likely will only speak to them occasionally.  And if you do speak with them, most of the conversation is geared around money!!  Here, you would be able to click the “Donate to Student” button and transfer money instantly into their PayPal account.  The PayPal account is connected to their personal bank account.  You don’t have to worry about running to their bank or sending them money through the mail, just a click the Donate to Student button.

My little sister will not “friend” my mom on Facebook.  Now, my mom has a place to stay connected with her and send some quick cash or a quick supportive note.  Recently, she made the Dean's List and informed us of this through a Flinkey post.  For her, posting that on any other social networking site is not something she would normally do.   We have used the site numerous times to send money to my sister and many of our other family and friends that are in college.  In addition, we are running a $100.00 monthly drawing for college students.  Last month, we sent our first monthly winner $100.00 through our Flinkey site.  How exciting!!  Now that you know about us lets get to the college resource blogs and tips.  It is our hope to provide assistance and support to future and current students.  Check us out!  http://www.flinkey.com/

Next Post:  How to Choose the Right College?