Tips to Making Your Freshman Year the Best

Going to college is an important milestone in life. For many college freshmen, it is the first time that they are out on their own and living without the constant supervision of parents. While this journey can be exciting, it can also be very overwhelming and understandably so. This new phase is different and anything different can cause trepidation and some confusion. If you are a college freshman—or are soon to be—the following tips are meant to help you take control of the freshman experience so that you can enjoy it to the fullest without risking your collegiate future.

1. Do Not Over Pack

When it comes to moving into college, it can be tempting to bring everything you own with you. After all, you will be living on your own without the comforts of home. Yet, this can be very time consuming to pack and you can waste a lot of time gathering items that you really will not need for that first year. Think about using the time that you are making the transition and packing for school to downsize and eliminate the clutter in your life. You will be going to college but unless you are going to a third world country, you will be able to find amenities close by if you need them. Pack light, pack smart, and your dorm room will thank you for it!

2. Get to Know Your Roommates

Roommates are something that is both exciting and terrifying when it comes to moving into school, especially if you do not know your roommates prior. In order to make the most of this situation where you will be living with potential strangers, make sure that you take the time to really get to know them beforehand. In today’s world of modern technologies and social media, it is easier to find the contact information of your future roommate and make that first contact. Try talking on the phone with them, rather than texting, and be sure to continue the dialogue once you get to school. Making an effort to get to know your roommates can mean the difference between making lifelong friends and hating that freshman year. And, if there are true and legitimate concerns that you may have, it will allow you to identify them more quickly.

3. Practice Stress Relief

Your freshmen year is going to be very stressful. Yes, it will be equally as fun but it will be scary and frustrating at times. College classes are different than high school courses and there are simply no ways to prepare for everything. Therefore, consider developing a stress management plan before you ever become stressed. This can include practicing yoga or taking a class. It can mean reaching out to health resources and finding a college therapist or it can simply mean making sure to take daily walks to help pump up the heart rate while releasing tension. Regardless of what is right for you, it is important that you go into classes and your freshmen year with a stress management plan.

4. Join a Club

Your school work is important and you need to keep that first when it comes to college life. But, being a freshman can be very isolating if you do not know the people with whom you are attending school. Whether you have friends on campus already or not, be sure that you make a concerted effort to get to know others outside of your normal social group. Whether you join a club or a sorority, reaching out and finding a group of young men or women to learn from and share with can mean the difference between a good and bad college experience. It will also give you the chance to build bonds that can help you in other areas of your life as well.

Staying Modern: 4 Must Download Applications for College Students

College is a great place for men and women of all ages to garner new knowledge in pursuit of their college degrees. In today’s modern world, there are several different technologies that are making this journey a bit easier and a bit more mobile. Smartphones and mobile devices offer the chance for individuals to stay educated on the go and even research scholarships in the process. If mobility is important for you and you are looking for great opportunities in apps to make the journey easier, the following are some easily utilized mobile applications that can help you to get the most from your college experience.

1. RefMe

Your going to be writing papers in college and you are going to have to have a lot of research for different writings and tests. This is an unfortunate part of the journey for many so having an application that can help you to build your research database is great. Now you can with the RefMe application. RefMe is absolutely a great resource in that it can help you to write papers and find the references you need quickly and can provide you with the tools you need to make a great reference page in a matter of moments. Available on Android and Apple Devices, RefMe is a great addition to any smartphone application conglomeration for students in college.

2. Evernote

If you have not had Evernote or have not heard of it, you need to learn more! This application has everything you need to make sure that you are gathering your notes and compiling them in a way that can make using them later much easier. The application is voice activated as well and can ensure that you are building a note database all through your speech. Traditional typing notes are available as well but the voice recording can help college students who are on the go. Further, those who use it say that it goes well beyond just taking notes. The files, folders, and features can be quickly customized and Evernote can hold information for all parts of life. Therefore, Evernote is a must download application for any college student or anyone that relies on information retention to see success.

3. College Specific Applications

Colleges are noticing the need to remain as mobile as their students. They know that technology is a great way to share a message and communicate information across networks. That is why more and more colleges are choosing to create their own college applications. If you are a member of a college that has a mobile application that is created, be sure that you have it downloaded to all of the mobile devices that you use on campus. This can help you to stay informed, check your grades, and stay up to date on the information you need to have the best and latest of information that is relevant to your college experience. If you do not know if your college has an application, talk to the student services department and find out!

4. A Calendar App

Your college life is going to get busy. You need to know and understand this or you will fall behind. From classes to extracurricular to schedules with friends, making sure that you find an application that will work for storing your information is important. Therefore, it is vital that college students look for a calendar application that works for them and their lifestyle. There are several available across different operating systems and that can be synced across all devices. Find the one that works for you and download it or look for a syncing capable calendar on your mobile technologies. Planning and staying organized can help you greatly in achieving your goals.

Easy tips to help you get a Scholarship for your college studies

Although tens of thousands of people can apply for the same scholarship, you can make yourself the successful applicant by applying the following tips in your life. Also note that scholarship applicants out there are highly creative and competitive and the only way to beat them is by constantly equipping yourself with relevant skills and recommendation letters as you will learn below.

Work hard in school and get good grades

Personally I have never seen scholarships for students who scored lowly in school. Most organizations and companies offering scholarships want to award them to people who will make the best out of these scholarship in that they will succeed in college and make great contribution to the society after they complete their studies. So, if you plan on getting that dream scholarship and get a place in the University, don’t waste your time while in school.

Participate in extra-curricular activities

Due to the high number of people who apply for scholarships, responsible committees try to slash the number of applicants by looking at their involvement in non academic activities. Often the best activities to get involved in are sports and athletics, theatre arts, voluntary work and in some cases get a part time job. Take for instances Universities that award scholarships to needy students. They mainly look for an extra quality in you, and that could be your ability to participate in the basketball team or the proof that you are responsible in the case that you had a part time job while you were in school.                                                                                  

Look out for scholarships early

Always stay on the lookout for new scholarship opportunities from time to time. Find those scholarships that are more specific and relate to you, for example a scholarship for engineers if you are in that filed. Mark you, most people who have had a scholarship before had to apply for several other scholarships before they were lucky. Also note that you don’t have to wait until some few weeks to joining college so that you can apply for a scholarship. Instead, fill the forms early and submit them long before other applicants do.

Write excellent essays

Someone once said that you can have great ideas but if you can’t put those ideas across, then your ideas are not worth anything. The same case applies here. The fact that you had good grades, good letters of recommendation and great involvement in co curricular activities can amount to nothing if your scholarship application essay will be generic and inconsistent in details. As such, write a stellar essay that will stand out from the rest of the applicants’ essays.

Get Sensible recommendation letters

Recommendation letters are as useful as are ratings are to sellers in commercial websites. You may not have involved yourself in any voluntary activities while in school, or maybe you were never gifted in sports, but a good recommendation letter form a former school teacher or from your former employer can come in handy when applying for a scholarship. Remember that the secret here is to be unique and conspicuous, and your application can only get noticed if it has something unique like a striking letter of recommendation.


Financial Tips: How to Put Your Best Foot Forward Your Freshmen Year

Your first year of college is going to be filled with many financial obligations. You will of course have tuition and you are likely to have room and board if you are living anywhere on or off campus. There are going to be other expenses as well that come up in the moment and that can be a very bad surprise. For those that want to keep control of their monies, consider the following as five great tips to helping you stay on financial track while away from home.

1. Avoid Credit Cards

One of the first and most important lessons that you can use when you go to college is to avoid the use of credit cards. Yes, credit cards can be great and having one or even two is not a bad thing when it comes to developing credit. However, many predatory lenders see first year students as potential bait and will often try to take advantage by offering bad deals disguised as good. Rather than open every credit card you are eligible for and potentially ruining your credit, try to avoid opening new credit cards that you do not need. The temptation can hurt you more than the benefit boost you.

2. Look for a Part-Time job

Another great way to make your money work for you while you are in your first year of college is to take on a part-time job. This should never interfere with your school work or your academic pursuits, but having a part-time job even for only a few hours a week can greatly help you and your financial picture. Many times, too, colleges will encourage part-time positions that are located right on campus. Therefore, talk with the school’s student outreach or employment services center in order to help streamline the employment process and find something that works for you and your schedule.

3. Buy Needs, Not Wants

No matter where you are in your life, financial balance is important. This is especially true for college freshmen. That is why it is so important to make sure to only buy what you need and not what you want. This delineation between necessity and desire can greatly enhance your financial picture now and in the future.

4. Talk to a Bank

When you are a college freshmen or are just starting out on your own, it is important that you start learning about money and its many different facets. This can be done through educational trainings and class work but it can also be completed through active engagement with financial institutions that work in this area and field. Therefore, it is recommended that college freshmen talk to a bank or financial institution that they trust in order to start developing a plan for the future. Whether it is a broker that does portfolio diversification or a traditional bank that offers checking and savings accounts to students, talking to someone in the beginning of your college journey and regularly thereafter can help you to build a financial plan that will work for you and your life.

5. Start Saving

You may have gotten a late start to the scholarship game, but your collegiate financial picture does not have to be all about spending. Though this part is easier said than done, no matter what your age, it is important to start learning to save. Even a small portion of your earnings at a job or of an allowance can greatly aid you in building a healthy financial picture for your present and your future. If you do not have a savings plan or account, taking the step to talking to a financial advisor can get you on the path to saving. A little bit can go a long way so make sure to consider this when you are building your financial plan for your freshmen year.

5 Ways to Know Your Scholarship Search is a Scam

There are thousands of different scholarships available to students that are looking to continue their education but need financial assistance in doing so. Often times, though, it can be difficult to find the resources and the ones that are right for you and your particular needs. That is why so many scholarship companies, agencies, organizations, and sites exist to help narrow down the possibilities and find those financial assistance opportunities that can greatly increase your chances of funding a post-secondary education. Unfortunately, as with any sector that draws a lot of attention, there are many different companies that promise results and are only scams. Therefore, the following are five different attributes that you can use to identify those companies that are not out to help you find the right resources but are only there to hurt you.

1. They are Charging You

There are several different scholarships available, in a wide variety of niche markets and general categories. These scholarships are meant to help those who meet the requirements to pay for their schooling. If a site is asking you to pay for services or to provide you with these resources, then, this should be considered a very big red flag. You have a lot of different options but the scholarships that matter are not asking you to spend a cent. Do not let the one that is helping to link you to these different opportunities charge you either.

2. Too Good to Be True

If you find a site that is too good to be true, chances are that it probably is. You want to ensure that you are choosing a scholarship aid that is providing you with information and not with a constant stream of false promises. Yes, finding scholarships are often lucrative and can be very helpful. But, if a site is promising you something that seems too far out of the norm for even scholarship level rewards, then, it probably is a scam. Trust your gut and your mind and make the best decision for you. Do not give your information to those you do not know or do not trust. This will help you to find the best opportunities with the least amount of risk.

3. Requesting Financial Information

Scholarship applications will often ask you for personal information, including statements of financial need. If you are using a general site or recruiter to find resources, you want to make sure that you are very stingy in who you provide this information to. If a site or scholarship recruiter is continually asking you for personal information that does not seem relevant to the scholarship process, then, you need to consider looking to work with another site. This information can be used to hurt rather than help you if you provide it to the wrong individual or agency.

4. Unrelenting Solicitation

There are many different companies that provide access to scholarships and do so through recruiting and marketing techniques. This is completely normal and is something that any business or site needs in order to solicit new traffic to their agency. But, when it comes to phone call solicitation and email campaigns, you need to make sure that you do not provide information to a company that you have not vetted or researched. If, for example, you receive a call from someone promising you scholarship opportunities and they are pressuring you to provide information, consider this a huge red flag and simply tell them that you will get back to them. A true and legitimate company, agency, or site will not require information without giving you time to do your own research.

5. No Results

If a company is good at what they do, then, you will see results. You will see the different scholarship opportunities you were looking for and you will be able to put in legitimate and real applications. If you are not seeing any results in your searches, your efforts, or your scholarship opportunities, then, it may be time to move on to another company, agency, or online search site. This does not mean that a legitimate company will automatically find you monies. It simply means that they are bringing you information that is useful to your scholarship search and real scholarship application opportunities.

5 Tips to Writing Your Best College Essay

Writing an essay for college is an important part of the application process. More and more colleges are requiring at least some sort of writing sample in making their decisions regarding whether or not an applicant gets an offer to enroll in that particular institution. Because these essays can involve simple prompts and the chaos of applying to multiple colleges can get overwhelming, it is tempting to ignore the importance and rush through these writing portions. The truth is, though, that these essays can make or break a college application and it is vital that time is spent in their development. If you are struggling with writing your college essay, then, consider these tips on how to get the most from your writing process and leave the reviewers impressed.

1. Put Thought Into It

Too often individuals that are preparing for college essays do so with little effort. There is a rush to get it done rather than a systematic approach. This can be clearly identified by those that are reading these writing samples. Therefore, it is vital that those who are developing a college essay put time and thought into it. Brainstorming is essential in this process. Be sure that you take the time to really think about what you are going to write about and explore different ideas before you begin to put pen to paper or, more modernly, fingers to keyboard.

2. Do A Draft

You are not perfect, no one is. So do not expect your first draft of a college essay to be your final one. Make sure that you take the time to really let your thoughts go and create a rough outline. While this will not be your final deliverable product, it will give you some great insight into how to get your essay flowing in the right direction. Further, it will provide a tangible road map to help you know exactly where you are going in the final draft.

3. Make It Personal

Even if the prompt seems very broad, it is important that you make your essay personal. Readers and college reviewers want to know that they are getting something from a person rather than a robot. Canned responses that do not take the time to really speak to the person writing it can be very problematic and can be a red flag to the reader or review committee. Therefore, take the time to weave personal stories and relatable facts into your writing and make it personal without sounding narcissistic.

4. Make It Unique

As much as your essay should be personal. It should be unique as well. If there is a straightforward answer to the prompt or question being asked, this is often done on purpose. Those that are reading college applications are likely to get the same response time and time again to this type of question, and they understand that. It is those essays, however, that approach the subject matter or discussion in a unique way that are likely to get the attention—and the bid to enroll. Therefore, be sure that you make your writing and your essays unique by approaching the question or prompt in an out of the box way.

5. Do Not Lie

It can be tempting when writing an essay to look at someone else’s successful piece and take inspiration from their work. It can also be tempting to stretch the truth a bit farther than is necessary. The key to a successful essay above all else is to be honest in your writing. You want the application to be representative of you and you want the college to offer a bid to enroll to you. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are representing YOU in the essay.

How to handle Common Scholarship Application Questions

When you receive a scholarship application’s form, the first thing that you notice is the long list of easy looking questions. However, little do many people know that the only reason that one fails to get the scholarship is by answering the questions asked in a complacent and generic manner. So, learn how you can answer some of these questions in a captivating and authentic way and perhaps be among the lucky few to get the scholarship.

A Question on how you gained interest in the field of learning you wish to pursue in life.

Depending on the type of scholarship you are applying for, you are most likely to receive a question asking you why you are interested in the degree or diploma program you wish to pursue. The most reasonable answer should be linked to a passion in the field of study, as most of the other reasons people give are usually considered not good grounds for awarding a scholarship.

A question on current events and social issues

This question sounds simple and easy to answer, but in reality most people fail to get scholarships due to how they answered a question on trending societal issues. Some people for instance are ignorant on following societal issues such as global warming and terrorism while others give such extremely opinionated answers that no one would be willing to give a scholarship to such a person. To standout among the rest of applicants, try and be rational in your thoughts while you give opinions and ideas that are practical and achievable.

A question on your personal achievements

Be careful with what you choose as your most important achievement in life as this can be another trap where a lot of scholarship applicants lose the mark. Some people for instance will mention that getting married was their best achievement in life, which is an important achievement, but the relationship of this achievement with the scholarship you are about to get is more important. As a wise applicant, try and mention unique achievements and especially those achievements that prove that you can be trusted, you can be a leader and that you are sociable.

How your Essay Can make you Win or Lose a Scholarship

After getting good grades in high school, looking for great letters of recommendation and making sure that you have spotted a good scholarship offer, what follows is to write a stellar essay that will put your odds of receiving the scholarship above everyone else’s. But then, as we shall see below, how you write that scholarship essay can determine if you will get the scholarship or not.

Deviating from the main theme

One great mistake that any scholarship applicant can make is to deviate from the theme that is often determined by why you are receiving the scholarship. Take for example a scholarship that awards students from poor backgrounds, but in your essay, you have been asked to explain how the problem of street families should be solved. Then, in your answer you give a good suggestion but somewhere in the middle of a paragraph you start stating your hate for the street families. In such a case, you would definitely have deviated from a good flow of ideas and perhaps deny yourself a good chance to win the scholarship.

Unedited essays

Failure to edit your essay is another mistake that would definitely deny you a chance to get a scholarship. Out of tens of thousands of scholarship applicants, only a handful of them get the scholarship awards. As such, committees that seek to award these scholarships look for the tiniest errors and then remove you from their list of successful applicants. So, despite the deadline for submitting your application, always take time to edit and proofread your essay. To be on the safe side, you can give several people to edit the essay for you.

Stating excess personal details

Stating some details about your background and influences in life is not a bad idea in a scholarship application essay. However, stating too many details can decrease your chances of getting the essay due to the following reasons. For one, you are only one applicant among thousands. The person awarding you the scholarship therefore only looks at the most interesting and informative details that would make him or her give the scholarship to you.

Give captivating answers

If you want to increase your chances of getting the scholarship, answer the questions asked in a brief but informative way. If there is a question on your future goals and plans in life, answer the question that shows that you are responsible in life and that you can become the best there will be in your field of study. Furthermore, since all the applicants are answering the same questions make your answers different but interesting.

Be unique and informative

Finally, you are most likely to get a scholarship if your essay will be full of important details and less of generic information. As we had mentioned above, scholarship applicants who answer questions in a generic and less interesting manner reduce their chances of getting good scholarships. So, for your essay to appear better than the rest, get prepared thoroughly on how you will write it. Organize all your answers and ideas properly, and then write a stellar essay that will wow the organization awarding the scholarships.

Why you should look for scholarships early

You are probably aware that scholarship offers are highly limited, and only a few get these awards. So, if you are serious about getting a scholarship to take care of your college fees, this is why you need to start looking for the scholarships as early as you develop an interest in them.

There are scholarships for preteens

Did you know that there exist scholarship opportunities for children below 13 years? If you didn’t, you need to do a research about this. These scholarships are however awarded to extremely needy kids, such as orphans, highly talented children and other special cases such as disabled kids. So, if you are a parent and you would like to have your kid get a scholarship, start looking for possible scholarships when the child is still young.

Scholarships are limited

It is pretty obvious that the number of people who apply for scholarship by far outweigh the number of available scholarships being offered. As such, most people who apply for scholarships late get to lose the awards while applicants who submit their application details early increase their chances of getting the scholarships. Besides this, even when you get a lot of scholarship offers, the number of competitive applicants is usually overwhelming while at times the organizations awarding the scholarships are even forced to lock out late applicants. So, this is another reason you have to apply for a scholarship as early as possible.

Some scholarships have special requirements before you get awarded

A good example of this kind of scholarships is the Dell scholarships, also known as Dell scholars’ programs. They demand that any applicant should have spent a minimum of two years in an approved college readiness program for you to qualify for their scholarships. Since there are not a lot of people who meet this kind of requirement, if you had researched about the scholarship early, you could get the chance of enrolling in the readiness program and in that way increase your chances of getting awarded with the scholarship.

You are able to put everything in order

There are very many people who miss great scholarship offers because they failed to either write good application essays, they failed to attach important details or because they were late to submit for their scholarship applications. In such scenarios, the applicant can have nobody to blame for their failure to get the scholarships. However, you can avoid such mistakes by looking for good scholarships early and then prepare your application details without fear of being locked out of the submission deadline.

You get the chance to choose for the best scholarships

When you look for scholarships early before you complete high school studies, you will have the chance to look for the best kinds of scholarships. For instance, you are able to look for scholarships that cover all college expenses or scholarships that target your specific field of study. However, as days go by, the number of scholarships reduces and your chances of getting awarded with scholarships reduce even further.

The Top 3 Ways to Relax Before Taking the SATs

Exams Anxiety is a common phenomenon among students taking SATs. While being nervous isn’t ideal in most cases, some people argue that it can come in handy. The adrenaline rush that comes with the anxiety is a testament that you care about the outcome of the test, and you ideally want to perform the best you can. In this regard, this tends to make you more focused on your studies than you would normally be.

However, as the saying goes, a lot of something good can turn out to be bad. This is to say that you should have your exam anxiety in check. At no time during the SATs period should you consider you be so wrapped up in anxiety, so much that normal living becomes a far-fetched possibility. This is where relaxing technics come in handy. Relaxing technics help student coup with the pressure of performing well in their tests, meeting their expectations as well as the anxiety of their future, especially during the test period.

Herein are three of the best relaxation techniques to keep in mind and practice before taking your SATs
Prepare Well in Advance

The only way to surely beat anxiety is to prepare for the test in advance. Keeping in mind that proper preparations of plays a huge part in determining the outcome of the test, you should initiate the process of revision well in advance to give you confidence before the tests.

Beyond initiating revision early enough, you should also keep in mind that only proper preparation will suffice to get you ready for the tests. In this regard, you should make certain that you deal with your weak points in earnest, and with an intention of improving. Parts of the subjects that are clearly difficult for you should receive more attention rather than just focusing on the parts that are you excel at.

However, while studying, it is important to have periodic and structured breaks. Considering that mental focus and concentration deteriorates with time, effective studying can only be achieved when you give your mind some time to recoup; this is the purpose of the breaks.

Maintain A Positive Mind Frame

Another important part of beating anxiety is ensuring that you keep a positive mind. Being upbeat gives you a positive outlook on life and in particular a positive outlook on your performance on the tests. In this regard, you should not be cognizance about the possibility of failure. Always fretting about the “what ifs” will also not help.

Keep your mind and your spirit as positive as possible. Positivity plays an important part in reducing the anxiety that comes with exams.

Maintain A Balanced Diet

Finally, you should always maintain a balanced diet. The diet you consume influences the amount of energy that your body has, the mood you are in and more importantly, your health. In this regard, you ought to maintain a well-balanced diet during the period before the SATs, as it sets the tone in your body to be more relaxed while reducing stress. Additionally, you should consider exercising.

Contact the IDS Honor Society for more information today.