Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Perfecting your Portfolio

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to talk to you all about creating an admissions portfolio that will be a useful resource for yourself when it comes to college applications. These are most widely used for art majors (dance, painting, sculpture, graphic design ... etc.), but they may be useful in other programs as well! Here are my tips and suggestions for creating a great portfolio that represents your abilities well.



Depending on the selectivity of the institutions to which you are applying, you can create one physical copy of your portfolio to bring when you visit your colleges or do a portfolio review for final admission. You can create one in a binder with clear sheet protectors, or you can also print and bind a 'professional' copy at a print center like Staples. If you think you are going to want to switch its contents in and out, then a good-quality binder that is easy to edit would be a good choice!

You should include a cover page with all of your contact information, the program you are interested in studying, and a brief explanation of your career goals, short-term and long-term. This should be short so that the counselor or reviewer can read it in less than 30 seconds. This is to help connect your paper application to the contents of your portfolio which represents you as a great candidate.

CONTENT SUGGESTIONS: 
Here are some suggestions for items, projects, and paperwork to include for different majors.

  • Education - If you did any tutoring assignments, if you went to BOCES for Early Childhood Education, or if you did any educational babysitting projects with students, include those materials in the portfolio. These could be worksheets you created, lesson plans you've written, letters of reference from any employers, or your personal philosophy of education.
  • Cosmetology/Beauty School - If you are interested in pursuing another degree that specializes more in becoming an aesthetician or a salon manager, take photos of the work you have done throughout your technical training. You could include pictures of hair-dos, edgy cuts or colors, nail designs you have created, or make-up looks you have designed. This should showcase your design skills, as well as your ability to innovate in terms of client's wishes.
  • Business - If you have worked on events in High School or for a part-time job, I would include those materials, such as the marketing pieces, any set-up materials, or proposals that you have written. Even if you only did assignments like this in your Business courses or in FBLA or Student Council, they can still help show your aptitude and your 'business mindset.' Even if you helped your mom with her Mary-Kay marketing campaign, include all of that material that you created!
  • Theatre/Dance - A theatre and dance portfolio can be difficult, since your product is your movement and your acting/dancing skill, so I would actually suggest making a digital portfolio, where you compile information like the performances you've had and any accolades or competition prizes you've won throughout the years. Universities will usually have you do an in-person audition, but if you want to create a digital portfolio, I would include some short compilations of your performances throughout your years. For theatre majors, you can include dramatic pieces, comedic pieces, and some musical theatre as well. For a dance major, I would include a short barre routine to show your extensions and general poise, as well as, some solo performances, like pointe work, jazz work, and a lyrical piece. Remember these should be shorter (30-45 seconds) pieces so that the reviewers don't get bored.
  • Art - A university will have specific guidelines for your art portfolio on what to include. They will usually have you bring in paintings or sketches, good quality pictures of your sculpture pieces or your photographs, as well as, printouts of your graphic designs. If you are genuinely interested in studying art, you should have a conversation with the University Art Department and your Admissions Counselor early on so that if you need to create a few pieces, you have time do so!
  • Autobody/Mechanics - While it would be rare, if you are looking to become a mechanic or gain experience and an education in autobody detailing or something more specific, you could also create a portfolio of things you've accomplished thus far. If you've detailed a few cars, add some good pictures; if you've overhauled a car or tractor, include pictures and a short explanation of the overhaul - time it took, engine style, what specifically you did. 
Overall, your portfolio should represent you and your abilities well. Throughout my career in my education major, we were constantly making portfolios and updating all of our materials to use in job interviews and in graduate school interviews. It is something that you can hang onto and pull out at a moment's notice when a job opportunity becomes available! 

If you want a suggestion about creating a portfolio for another program or major, comment below and I will be sure to respond and give you all my recommendations and suggestions! I hope you all have a great week!!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

P.S. I will be doing a Q&A session next month for you all to get to know me a little better. If you have a question you want to know about me or about my educational journey, please leave it in the comment, send your question in an e-mail or tweet me  @Chasing_College. :)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Winter Break College Movie Marathon

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend and were able to spend some of your time relaxing with your family and friends! I've been absent from pretty much all of my social media the past few days so that I could celebrate Christmas with my boyfriend's and mine families! Because a lot of you have time off from school, whether its college or high school, I thought a movie marathon list of college-type movies would be interesting for you all to check out during your down time!

Pitch Perfect

This is a great movie that I love to watch and it came out while I was in college, so that gave it another level! It is not only about a'capella singing and navigating the world of being a college DJ, but it also deals with the transition as you enter college and how to incorporate your interests into your college life!

Legally Blonde 


Hands down, this is one of my movies of all time. It has such an empowering message when it comes to going to college and to choosing a career. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do anything, and that includes going to college and getting your degree! 

College Road Trip


This movie is geared more towards the younger readers who may be just starting their college search process, as this is a Disney movie. It is about a high school student wanted to go off to one college, while her father has a different expectation that she will go to his choice university. So, this is a family-oriented movie, but if you and your parent or you and your child are having a difficult time on agreeing on the types of schools to apply to, then use this movie as an opportunity to discuss the students' needs and how to meet them in terms of a college education!

Sydney White


This is a collegiate spin on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs story. Specifically, it handles a big concern for students on rushing Greek Life, but also on finding yourself on campus (especially if you're a legacy). Its also a cute and funny love story that also brings to the forefront the issue of student government on campus. 

Admission


I have yet to see this movie, but I got it as a Christmas gift and I am super excited to watch it! Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are hilarious actors and the movie is all about the 'unknown' world of college admissions, but is a great reminder that Admissions Counselors/Advisors are people too!

Larry Crowne 


I saw this movie in theaters when it first came out. It is about an adult who loses his job because of his lack of college education, so he goes back to college in hopes of regaining his position. This is a great movie if you are an adult learner who is heading to college and wants to see what to expect. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts star in it and it is a cute, semi-romantic comedy, that has a good message too! 

I hope this list gives you at least one idea for a movie to watch this winter to help you relax, rewind, and just reimagine your college expectations and get in that headspace! If you have any college movie suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments for others to check out! 

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Should I Transfer?

Hi everyone! As the first semester of this school year is now complete for almost all universities, I wanted to talk about something that is a very real concern for students once they return home after that first semester. Transferring out of a college after their first or third semester can be a true issue for students once they complete their finals. It is a decision that deserves a lot of conscious thought and research, so I wanted to talk about that with you today.



Now, sometimes a college that we choose just does not work out for many reasons: you decide to change majors, the student culture isn't what you thought, changing home dynamics cause you to be perpetually homesick, your physical or mental health deteriorates, and so many other reasons. What's important to remember here though is this: IT IS YOUR REASON. It does not need to be explained or rationalized to anyone but yourself! Before you make your final decision about transferring, you should have a conversation with those who you are closest to, as well as, an advocate on your campus to determine what other options you have.

Why should you talk to your family - These are the most supportive people in your life, your parents, siblings, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, or another family member you trust. They know your personality best and should be able to help you decide what will be best for your new path. They can also help show you the pros and cons of transferring to another institution such as: academic quality, financial feasibility, and student life experience. Their support can also help you manage whatever your reasoning is for wanting to leave your current college, ie: depression/anxiety, lack of friends, or missing family members.

Why you should talk to a student advocate at college - These are Resident Directors, your RA, Counselors, Advisers, or any other administrator who you trust or respect. The reason you should speak with someone on your college campus too is so that if there is something on campus that can combat your reason for leaving, then they can help you find it! Oftentimes, students will choose to leave a college because they are having difficulty integrating into a social structure, so meeting with your RA or Adviser can help you find some clubs or organizations that you can join to make friends and start having a fulfilling college experience.

ABOVE ALL ELSE - Do not decide to transfer out of or into a university because of another person, ie: a boyfriend/girlfriend, crush, or best friend. You need to do what is best for you, not what is best for them. If your relationship/friendship is meant to last, then it will withstand the distance and the struggles of being apart. This is your chance to grow, learn, and become independent so don't let another person persuade you to transfer.



Story Time - My Freshman year of college, I contemplated transferring out of my alma mater. I did not have many friends (other than my roommate), I was told by my Adviser that I would not graduate on time, I missed my family and boyfriend, and honestly just wanted to be closer to my comfort zone. So, I looked into transferring into a comparable college that was only about forty minutes from my house, however as soon as I looked into the financing options I knew it would not be feasible. Most often, and this was the case for this university, transfer students get extremely limited scholarship opportunities. Even though I graduated valedictorian in High School and I had a full tuition scholarship already, I would have only been eligible for a $7,000 merit scholarship. This completely changed my mind and option of transferring. --- Instead, I chose to find ways to make my time at my alma mater exactly what I wanted it to be. I joined a few clubs, signed up to be an Orientation Leader, looked into other academic opportunities to combat my Adviser's statement. This was the BEST thing I could have ever done. I stuck it out and made my college experience exactly what I wanted it to be ... I grew up and became way more independent and just started acting and thinking for myself so that I could succeed exactly how I wanted!

Deciding whether or not to transfer out of your university is a huge decision, so make sure you look at all of your options: finances, student life, academics, and family relationships. Ultimately, you need to make the decision that is best for your success in the future and your growth as an individual and whatever decision you make, stand up for it and make it work! If you have any questions or concerns about your experiences or about possibly transferring, feel free to comment below, send me an e-mail or direct message me on Twitter, I would be glad to help you or just be a sounding-board for your decision!

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you all have an incredibly Merry Christmas surrounded by your families and friends. Take joy in this time that you get to spend with each other!


enjoy the chase,
skylar

Monday, December 21, 2015

Making the Most of Winter Break

Hi everyone and Happy Winter Break for all of your who are off from college and from high school! When I was in high school, these were my favorite two weeks of the entire year because I could read a book and spend time with my family, and practice my dance routines in my down time without having the responsibility of a summer job or homework to do! Even now that I am on break from graduate school, I use this time to make new memories with all of my family and do projects I don't normally have time for! So, today I wanted to share some tips with you all on how to make the most of your time off from school this Winter!



READ A BOOK - This one is rather obvious, reading a book is important for growing your vocabulary and your general knowledge on a topic. Whether it be a self-help book, one about your career, or a magazine that you love to read cover-to-cover, then use this time to expand your mind and soak up new knowledge!

VOLUNTEER - We are in the season of giving now, so make sure you give up some of your time to help others. You can do something simple for a day like help at a soup kitchen or helping to organize the food pantry at a church in your area. You could also offer to read books to children at the local library! If it snows a lot where you live, shovel off your neighbor's driveway or walkway! It doesn't need to be some outland-ish Habitat for Humanity type of volunteering, but just giving a little bit of help and cheer to someone can go a long way for their happiness!

BUY YOUR TEXTBOOKS - If you are in college, buy your textbooks before Christmas, sometimes they offer pretty good shipping deals just because of the time of year. What's important though is to price compare your textbooks at different websites. I always price compare between my University Bookstore, Amazon, and Chegg to make sure I am not paying more than I need to for a specific book! BTW: Chegg is offering free shipping on orders over $85 until March 31st, so be sure to check that out to help save some money!! Also, if you buy your textbooks from your University Bookstore, don't pay the extra money to have them shipped home or to your off-campus apartment. Just go and pick them up on the first day of classes!

BINGE-WATCH TV - Take some time to relax and watch your favorite tv show while you can! Find a show or mini-series you've been waiting to see and lock yourself in your room with your puppy dog or kitty and watch it continuously! It will give your brain a break after final exams or large projects! I don't have NETFLIX (which is probably a good thing) but I usually will binge-watch Youtube videos or old tv shows that I have on DVD for a brain break!

WRITE YOUR RESUME - Use this time off to re-write and re-work your resume for on-campus jobs, possible internships, and if you're getting ready to graduate for your first big-kid job! You can find great pointers on the internet and if you are in college, use your Career Services Office to review it for any errors in writing or in presentation! You'll be happy to have one all ready to go when next semester gets busy and some leadership and internship opportunities come up!

SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY - This is also a no-brainer, but spend your time off with your family; your parents, siblings, grand-parents, aunts or uncles, or cousins. Try and see everyone at least once while you are home and you don't have to worry about projects, athletic events, or going out with friends. You will cherish this time, so make sure you spend it with the people you love!

MAKE STUDY CARDS - This is obviously the 'nerdy' option, but if you have a big exam that you will be taking in the spring or in the summer coming up, use this time to make some flash cards with key vocabulary that is needed for performing well on these exams. This is a rather brain-less task, its just copying words and their definition on a note card, so you could even do this while catching up on those tv shows. You can Google Search SAT Vocabulary or GRE Vocabulary or whatever exam you are taking to find words to make flash cards out of. While you're in the car riding to different family gatherings, you can take those twenty minutes and review some vocabulary with those flash cards!

Winter Break is a short break but that's what makes it great! You are able to rest and relax with your family, while doing productive tasks for the next semester! If you have some fun things you are doing this Winter Break to help you chase college, feel free to add them in the comments or tweet me @Chasing_College.

Later on this week, I will be posting about making the decision to transfer out of a college, if you're in those shoes, as well as, a movie or book marathon for all of the College Chasers out there! Have a great week everyone!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Friday, December 18, 2015

Last Minute Shopping: College Apparel

Hello all!! While some of you may be finishing up some last minute shopping if you celebrate Christmas, I wanted to share with you all some great places where you can buy college apparel ... outside of the university bookstore. The university's bookstore is probably the best bet if you are planning ahead and you have some time to receive a package (if it is an out of market university), but here are some other ideas for stores and sites to visit!

Dick's Sporting Goods is an obvious choice if you need to go shopping. They normally have a variety of collegiate-wear in a variety of styles and sizes. A few weekends ago, I visited the Dick's Sporting Goods near my university and they actually only had Penn State apparel, which was a little disappointing, but they had a HUGE variety of sweatshirts and lounge pants, polo shirts, t-shirts, hats ... etc. Their website, though has a lot of the larger universities in stock for you to order. They also have cute stocking stuffer ideas or just small gifts you can give throughout the year to the fan!

Dick's Sporting Goods


PINK by Victoria's Secret has some cute apparel options for the fan who loves all things sparkly and snuggly.  They have some great sweatshirts and long sleeve shorts and even have leggings available. Now, I went into a PINK store to see if I could find some apparel in their store and I spoke to an associate and she said that their specific store does not carry them because it was smaller, but that the collegiate-wear was still available online, which it is. So, if you wanted to buy something in person, I would definitely check and see if the store near you has them in stock or if you'll need to buy them on the website.

Marshall's and TJ Maxx will have some apparel for whatever your large university is in your market area. I'm pretty sure that this also works for Burlington Coat Factory stores! For example, down where I go to school it is largely dominated by Penn State with some random universities thrown in there, whereas at home in Upstate New York, our TJ Maxx carries more Syracuse University items. So, if your fan loves the hometown team, you can find some really great buys for even better prices!!

Marshall's

Lauren James Co. is a smaller online clothing company that carry some shirts for the universities that primarily belong to the SEC. I have bought a few things from them and they were good quality and the customer service is incredibly helpful if there's any trouble. Their website is easy to use and also has a section for 'game-day' outfits for the fan that dresses up for the ball games! This is more geared for the woman in your life, who wants something cute to cheer their favorite team on!

Mall Collectible Shops usually have some great finds for gifts for the college fan! The one in the mall near me is called Sports Fever and I was really pleased by the selection of universities that they had there, ie: Temple University, Stanford University, University of Alabama, and lots of others! They also have a lot of collectibles from the NHL, NFL, and NBA, so no matter the fan in your life, these stores are a great stop to find something cool and unique!

Sports Fever

Sports Fever (I apologize for the poor quality,
stores don't have the best photographic lighting!)

Etsy is a really great place to shop to find something home-made and really unique that has your team's apparel on it. If you just search the university and home-made you can find a lot of neat things. You can also just search something like Southern Methodist University scarf or Northeastern University hair bow. These may take a little bit longer to ship, as they are home-made, so they wouldn't be really great for last-minute shopping, but you can always give it as a New Year, Valentine's or Birthday gift later on in the year!!

Foot Locker and Champs stores also have really great quality in universities that they carry. They try to cater to a large population so they carry larger universities. Also, if you live near Outlet Stores, you can always visit the Reebok, Under Armour, or Nike stores to see what they have there in terms of collegiate sportswear too!

Foot Locker

I hope these help you with any last minute shopping ideas or even if you are planning for next year! It is important to remember though that a lot of Department Stores like JC Penney, Kohl's or Macy's will carry collegiate apparel, however it will depend on what market you belong in. For example, in my search a few weeks ago, all I found was Penn State apparel because I work and attend a university in Pennsylvania! However, you can sometimes find some cool things like mugs, scarfs, ornaments, and hats at these places!

If you find some really great deals or odd/unique finds, feel free to add them in the comments! Happy Shopping everyone!!


enjoy the chase,
skylar

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Going to College in the City!

Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a great start to your week. Don't forget to finish up your college applications before the deadline and if you need help reminding your recommenders to send the evaluations, check out this post. Use the coming weeks and your Winter Break to finish up on your essays and to put the finishing touches on your applications.

So, this past weekend I went on a bus trip to New York City to see all of the Christmas decorations and to visit Rockefeller Center and that got me thinking of all of the great opportunities that going to college in a large city can offer you! Some of these large cities include NYC, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix. Much like the college campuses that reside in these cities, the cities themselves each have personalities of their own that cater to different types of experiences students can have while studying there. Here are some of the great perks for going to college in a large city!

Cultural Events - Large cities generally have a diverse population, so the amount of cultural events such as festivals, meetings, banquets, art showcases ... etc. that revolve around different cultures is extremely high! If you celebrate different customs or are richly involved with your family's heritage, going to college in the city may be a positive experience for you. You can make new friends and even expand your horizons past the way you were raised to understand and learn about other cultures!



Artistic Expression - The amount of art that is present in large cities is unbelievable. Think about all of the museums, concerts, art shows, dance performances, theater showcases, and random street performances that you can attend throughout your 2 or 4 years in college in the city. If you are an artistic person or just like music, you can always find something to see or watch that involves an art-form. Additionally, most museums and concert halls provide discounts to students when you use your student ID, so make sure you take advantage of that!

No Need for a Car - A great thing about living in a large city is that you don't need to rely on your own vehicle to get to-and-from places. If you live close to that large city, you can usually get a train or a bus ticket at a fairly decent price for when you want to go home. If you have to fly home, you also have access to different airports that provide more opportunity to travel places (including if you want to just go on a vacation with your college friends.) Also, when you need to get around the city, public transportation is an affordable and easily accessible option. Taking a bus, trolley, or subway ride to your destination not only saves you money on parking fees and gas, it also saves you time in allowing you to read or study on your way to your destination!

Active Nightlife - City life is like none other! The restaurants, dance clubs, cafes, and events provide a unique experience for students. You don't just have to stay on campus to have fun, you can also go with your friends to the different events held around town. Go out to dinner at the Thai restaurant across town, or go to the new 18 and over dance club to have some fun after a stressful week! You'll never get bored of the food or entertaining options!

Shopping - Cities provide you with so many different stores to shop at for gifts or for your everyday items. I am a window shopper and that is how I de-stress, so thinking about all of the opportunities to shop in a big city excites me! You can find high-end stores, vintage shops, specialty stores, and even pop-up shops that only last for a season. You may find a store you really love shopping in and looking around so much that you get a job there (Hello, discounts!!).



Educational Opportunities - Another great thing about going to college in a large city is the number of other universities and college students that populate the area. You share your city with art schools, technical schools, large public universities, elite private colleges, and other specialty colleges that all offer a diverse student body! You can make new friends at area coffee joints or in the public libraries. Also, all of these colleges can offer additional opportunities to take classes and have them transfer into your college. (I'd always check with your adviser before paying for a class or enrolling.)  These courses can be public interest topics, something you need for your major, or just a class you find interesting that would fill a general education requirement.

Overall, attending college in a city can provide you with some great cultural, artistic, social, and educational opportunities. You can grow in your personal independence while still learning more about yourself and about the world that surrounds you! While moving from home into a large city can be scary, don't rule it out until you truly examine the positives of the universities and of the city you would be living in ... figure it all out before you make your final decision!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Some Thoughts ...

Hi everyone! I apologize for the absence lately ... I finished up my last week of work and my internship on Friday and am working on packing up my room so that I can move into a new apartment in a few weeks. I've been pretty busy lately, but I am excited to take some time off from school and work with the Winter Break and rest! I have some great blog posts coming up so stay tuned for those!

So, this past semester I completed a 300 hour internship experience within my university's Office of Disability Services. This is a requirement for my Master's Degree, but where we complete it and when we complete it is really up to the individual student. I finished my hours and had my 'final' meeting with my mentor on Friday to go over my evaluation and while I was walking to my car after the meeting, I had these thoughts:

Higher education, a college degree, is about finding a way to learn what you want! Yes, there are degree requirements and liberal arts credits that need to be met, but you can and should do everything in a way that gives you the experiences and the knowledge that you desire. In my opinion, there is no other place in the world where you have the opportunity to create an internship, work options, study abroad experiences, community service opportunities, and take classes that you enjoy and want than in higher education. You shape what you want to learn and you get to create your knowledge! Where else can you have that opportunity! I think that's awesome!

I usually give examples from my life, but tonight I want to give you an example from my boyfriend's experience earning his Associate's Degree in Diesel Technology. He is someone who has a lot of goals with many different jobs and experiences that he wants to have, which is great! (No matter who you are, you should always have goals, expectations, and things you are working towards.) So, in his two and a half years, he was able to complete an internship with Caterpillar engines, gain leadership experience through the Agricultural Engineering club, work on overhauling tractor engines in his coursework, and continue his own lawn care business.

Much like he took advantage of his coursework and experiences outside of the classroom, college is meshing all of your experiences to give you the best possibilities for the future. Find those internships that make you excited about your field. Apply for leadership positions that would help you in the long run. Volunteer with an organization that holds the same values as you or that endorses the businesses you hope to work for in the future. Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up personally and professionally. And finally, Work towards your goals; as long as you can explain it to yourself, then that's all that matters.

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wish I Knew Wednesday

"Don't sweat the small stuff ... You have to make the most of each experience because once you are on your own, you don't get the same opportunities." 
Sara K., 22, Johnson City, New York

Whether you're still in high school, in college, in your graduate school, or in your last year of medical school, it is so important to take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to you. But before you do that, you have to relax and enjoy the moment. While it may not feel like these moments are wonderful or everlasting, by the time you are out of them, you will miss the ease and carefree-ness of that stage of your life.  Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your moments and not sweat the small stuff!

Check out your local college to see if they offer
workshops to high school students


A high GPA won't get you into Heaven, but being there for a friend will! So, this is true. Yes, getting a good grade is important, especially if a high GPA is necessary for your next step in life, but if you've worked hard and performed well up to this point, then skipping three hours of studying to help a friend through a crisis, won't be too detrimental to your overall performance. Plus, that friend will be incredibly grateful for your help and support! True Story: My Senior year of college, I skipped an entire day of studying to spend the day with a resident who was having an incredibly difficult few days (I was her RA). She was incredibly grateful that I was there for her and my skipping that day of studying did make me do poorly on the Final Exam for the course, but it barely dropped my GPA.

Take time to go to Denny's or the mall with your group of friends! After you've graduated, you are going to miss spending time with your group of friends and you'll do anything to be with them. Because of this, soak up that extra fun time to be with them. I'm not saying completely blowing off your studying or flaking on a group project. I just mean, if the opportunity arises, spend time with your friends and create those memories which will keep you positive and upbeat! Besides, a break with your friends could help you refocus to get back to your schoolwork, college applications, or a job you need to do at home.

If it is meant to be it will be! I had to throw this cliche in here, but it is true! If something is meant to be, no matter how much worrying you put behind your application or your proposals, if it is supposed to happen it will! Any psychologist will tell you that worrying is the most useless emotion in the world because it does nothing positive for you! Now, I'm the definition of a worry-wart, but it was through my college experience that I learned with personal relationships, with school work, with leadership opportunities, and with jobs that all I could do was prepare and then once everything was submitted it was out of my hands. Now I'm spiritual, so I prayed about it, but other than that I didn't worry or extend too much of my time after my job was complete! That energy can be put to better use such as applying to another position/job or working on a different project or studying!

Take advantage of free/discounted experiences! Go on that high school field trip, go to Costa Rica with the Spanish Club, sing at Carnegie Hall, take that free writing workshop on Saturdays, and go with your family on vacation! These experiences are not lame if they are truly want you want to do! I said it before and I will say it again, this is your journey, no one else's. Don't be afraid to do something by yourself because no one else wants to go, especially if it is a free opportunity. My last two years of high school, I was granted with a lot of great opportunities and I took full advantage of them because I knew I'd never have that opportunity to do them again (especially at those prices). In my junior and senior years, I traveled to Canada and France with my high school and to North Carolina with my family, I attended Girls State and a Leadership Conference Series at a local college, I went to the zoo both years for two different classes, and I acted in the Senior Play! Not all of my friends wanted to do these events and I made friends at each opportunity, but because of this I have some great memories and experiences that have influenced me still today!

You are entering some of the greatest years of your life with some of the most influential people you'll meet! It's an exciting time so take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you! Do what's right for your personal growth and do things that make you proud of your achievements!

enjoy the chase,
skylar


P.S. Are you a college student who has a piece of advice to share, feel free to contact me through the Contact Page and I'll add it to a Wish I Knew Wednesday post in the future!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Motivation - Finals Week

Hello everyone!! Happy Finals Week to all of the college students out there and Happy *almost* Winter Break to all of you high school students! While looking forward to time at home in your pjs, watching Netflix is its own form of inspiration, I also wanted to provide you with some extra motivation to finish out the next couple of weeks strong before you get a few weeks off from school!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
** Once you're done with Finals make sure you take some time with your friends to de-stress before you go home for the holidays. Meet for coffee or lunch and spend time together not talking about studying, exams, or any reading you have to do! These are the moments you'll cherish and you can even make it a tradition for each semester after Finals. If you're in High School, go to a Sports game with your group of friends! Cheer on your home time in a tournament or travel to see them play against a local school!

This is just funny ... and we can all relate!

** Stock up on these items as you begin your final preparations for your classes this semester!
Highlighters, pens, and pencils
note cards and post-it notes
blank paper (to draw graphs/flow charts)
markers and crayons (for last minute projects)
any notes on lectures or readings
chocolate and iced cold water to keep you awake
a visual of why you're working so hard


** If you need a break from studying or you need some background noise while you're putting a portfolio together, then throw in your favorite movie, whether it be a holiday movie or just an everyday movie that you love! My suggestion is Legally Blonde or pick out some comedy videos from Youtube! (Dane Cook was my favorite my Freshmen year of college.)


** Buzzfeed (the Holy Grail Procrastination Station) has published a list of "31 Clever Tips To Make Life Feel A Little Easier," and you can find it here. If you're feeling overwhelmed or just feel like you need a break to collect your thoughts, that is okay! You're supposed to work up to Finals Week, so make sure you plan in some down time to relax yourself. 

I hope you all have a really great week filled with awesome accomplishments and thoughtful answers on your Final Exams. If you don't have Finals or Midterms for another couple weeks, then use this time to ask your professors and teachers about any concepts you don't understand or even tell you what may or may not be on the exam so that you can start preparing note cards! Don't wait until the last minute to start your studying ... its a marathon not a sprint! HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYONE!!!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide!

Hello all! So last night I presented this blog and my research on parental involvement for the capstone project for my Master's Degree and got a great response for it. So, in honor of my personal journey of chasing college, tonight I am really excited to share with you all the Chasing College Holiday Gift Guide! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the New Year, or just want a good reason to give someone a gift, I tried to come up with some unique and thoughtful ideas that would be perfect for anyone 'Chasing College.' Some gifts are geared more towards High School students, while some may be better for those already in college, but you can use your best judgement!!


  1. An XL Twin comforter and sheet set is a great gift during the holiday season. There are some really great sales at department stores this time of year, so might as well take advantage of the bedding sales! This specific comforter set is from JC Penney and you can find it here. My suggestion is to get your student an XL (extra long) Twin set because those will fit best with the beds in college residence halls. **Note: I got my bedding set for college the Christmas before I graduated from High School. I was able to pick out the colors I wanted and my parents were also able to get a good deal on them!
  2. If your student is a Junior in High School or they are a Senior and will be needing to take the SAT/ACT over again, I definitely suggest buying them a Review Book. While this may not be something on their list, it will be put to good use and is a functional gift! You can find these review books at every bookstore, on Amazon, and even possibly at Walmart. The price can range from $20.00 to about $45.00 depending on the type of book and what else it includes. My suggestion though is to buy a review book that is published by the company which owns/administers the specific test.
  3. This is a great time of year to gift your student, your friend, your roommate, whomever a new set of gloves, or a hat/scarf. These are invaluable in the winter months for walking to and from class, the Dining Hall, or the Library! You can also usually find some good deals on outerwear accessories during the holiday season, which is fabulous for the college students looking to give gifts on a budget!
  4. Lanyards and ID wallets are a great small gift you can get a friend or a family member. For the guys, I would suggest a lanyard from their favorite store or from a sports team they like. An ID wallet is a good idea for girls, as they can hold their keys, their IDs and anything small. These are essential for college students for keeping track of their room keys and their IDs (ie: their meal cards, access to dining facilities, and ability to print).
  5. For the people in your life who are constantly on their phones, I would suggest a portable phone charger as a great gift! You can find them almost anywhere, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon .. etc. Especially for college students who are away from their rooms from sun-up until sun-down, this would be a great electronic for them. **Parents: Your child would no longer have the excuse of  "My phone was dead," when they didn't call you back!
  6. While they are on sale, I definitely suggest buying snow/winter boots and giving those as a gift to your college chasing student! You have to walk everywhere when on a college campus, so it is necessary that you have a good, solid snow boot during the winter months. (Now, if you live in an area that doesn't see snow, I would suggest a good rainboot!) They should have treads on the bottom to help combat icy sidewalks, but also be warm enough for those jaunts across campus. Also, warm socks are a good "Stocking Stuffer" idea!
  7. In general, I feel like the holidays are when we give and receive more extravagant gifts than we would for any other holiday, so I would suggest giving a really high-quality winter or rain coat to someone in your life. (Again, this depends on the area you are going to college.) You'll want to gift a warm and water-resistant coat that the student would love. You can find these coats everywhere, JC Penney's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Marshall's, Macy's ... etc. **Note: I bought a Columbia-brand coat on clearance during the holiday season for college and I still have it and wear it today! It is so warm and if you buy the jackets with the inner and outer shell, then you can have two jackets in one - a fleece for the Fall, a rain jacket for the Spring, and a winter coat for the winter!
  8. I'm a firm believer that you should always give someone a book as a holiday gift, so this one is entitled The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College. It is a great resource for students who are going into college or who have just had a rough first semester. It offers interesting anecdotes about college life and tips on how to solve your problems! **There are a lot of these resource books out there, so do your research and find one that best fits the student you are gifting for.
  9. An electronic picture frame is a great idea for college students and those who are planning to go away ... actually, I think this is a good gift for pretty much anyone. But, you're able to upload your pictures as you want onto the USB or SD disc that comes with it and then it shows a slideshow of all the photos on the disc. If the gift receiver has limited room or has a lot of pictures they want to show, this is a great way to showcase them. You can find these at office supply stores and electronic stores like Staples or Best Buy!
I hope you all have enjoyed the 2015 Chasing College Gift Guide! I hope it provides you all with inspiration for your gift giving this month and even possible ideas for future graduation gifts for your loved ones! Do you have an great gift idea for someone who is 'Chasing College,' feel free to comment below!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Monday, November 30, 2015

Using your Admissions Counselor to your Advantage

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a restful and relaxing break from school and if you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a great day filled with turkey and mashed potatoes! Tonight I want to talk with you all about how you can use your college admissions counselor to your advantage. They are a wealth of knowledge and can provide a lot of wisdom to you!



First things first, a college admissions counselor is someone who works for a specific university to recruit and encourage students to apply and enroll at their college. They spend a lot of time travelling in the Fall and Spring to attend events across the nation to discuss their university. Once they are back in the office, they spend their time meeting with families, reading applications, and answering their students' questions. It is important to recognize what their job is before you start wondering how they can help you in your college search process.  Here are some of my tips:

1. ASK THEM QUESTIONS!!!  I cannot reiterate this enough, if you have a question about the university, about the application process, or about scholarships, then send them an e-mail, call them, or even text them your question. They want the contact with you and want to help you recognize the greatness that their campus can offer to you.  **When I was applying to colleges, whenever I had a question about the university, I would write it on a sheet of paper and keep that in my college folder. When the admissions counselor called throughout the year, I would have my questions ready for them so that I could get all of the answers I needed!

2. GET CONNECTED!!! Ask yourself who they might be able to connect you with at the university. Admissions professionals usually have some power to get things done and to have their students meet with others, so if there is someone you want to meet or talk to, ask your admissions counselor about it. They can usually connect you with athletics coaches, professors, other administrative offices, and students! If you have a specific question and you aren't satisfied with their vague answer, then see if they can hook you up with another resource!  (Admissions counselors know a little about a lot, so if you genuinely want more information than they are giving you, that is completely acceptable. Be up front though and see who else they can get in contact with for you!)

Use your admissions counselor to set up meetings with
coaches and student athletes.

3. CHECK ON APP. MATERIALS!!! So, it wasn't until I started working in the Admissions Department that I realized that students and families can call the office to see if their materials have been submitted to the university appropriately.  Oftentimes students wonder if their recommenders have completed their evaluations or if their guidance counselor sent in their transcript. Now, you don't have to worry because you can ask your admissions counselor. Now, I wouldn't be calling every two days to see if it has been submitted, but have a frank conversation with your admissions counselor to make sure they have the most up-to-date information, including test scores!

4. BUILD YOUR RESOURCES!!! Once you are enrolled at the institution, keep all of the connections that they have helped you make and reach out to those people. If they are students or other professionals, make sure you keep them in mind when you are back on campus at orientation. They may be able to help you make your college transition even more smoothly. These connections may also help you later on down the road in college. (One of the administrators who did my admissions interview, coincidentally, I ended up working really closely with during my years as an Upperclassman RA and as an Orientation Leader. You never know where those resources will lead you, so definitely keep them in a safe place!)

I hope this has helped you all as you are beginning to contact your admissions counselors more and more. Just remember each university is different, so their connection and resource flow may take a little longer than at another. Stay patient and remember if you have something you really want to know about a university, then pursue it!!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Today is one of my most favorite holidays because it is all about giving thanks for the people and things in our lives! So, I am going to share with you all some of the things I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving!



My family!
My mom and dad have provided me undying support these past 23 years of my life and I am beyond thankful for them. They have provided me with so many opportunities and experiences that have lead me so many places. From the car rides to dance class, going to hockey games, our road trips to North Carolina every summer, and our Thanksgiving tradition of putting up our Christmas tree and decorating the house; I couldn't imagine two better people to have shared every moment in my life with. I'm also beyond appreciative for my sister and her husband for their love and support ... especially through these college years!



My boyfriend and his family!
My boyfriend, Tyler is the first person I go to when I have an idea for my blog, for a trip, or for a class. He and his family have been incredibly supportive, especially these last few years of graduate school, of me and my education! Tyler was the first person who I talked to about creating this blog and he has pushed me ever since that conversation while on vacation!



My education!
I have been incredibly blessed to have had my tuition for both of my undergraduate and graduate degrees paid for by the institution I've attended. I have had amazing experiences, made lasting friendships, and have learned so much over these past 5.5 years and I am beyond grateful for it! A college education gives you the opportunity to grow into your own person and become confident in your dreams and goals and I'm so happy to have been able to experience that!



My blog!
A year ago I would have never known that I would be spending my free time preparing blog posts and taking pictures for this blog, but I am so happy and thankful for having this outlet and opportunity to share my advice and experiences with everyone who reads it! I wish that there was a blog like this when I was applying to colleges to help answer my questions, but I am so thankful that I can help any and all students who are pursuing a college education!


My Readers!
Of course, I am undeniably thankful for all of your who take the time to read the blog posts I share and who share the information I provide with their family and friends. I wish you all nothing but the best at the start of the holiday season!I hope you all have had a safe, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving Day surrounded by your family and friends! Take time today to be thankful for everyone in your life and every opportunity you have been afforded thus far. But also, be thankful for the opportunities you have yet to experience and the people you have yet to meet; the future is bright my dear ones! Happy Thanksgiving!


enjoy the chase,
skylar


P.S. To all my international followers, Happy Thankful Thursday! I hope you all just have a magnificent day!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

High Impact College Experiences

Hello all!

Today I wanted to talk to you all about the Conference I attended this past weekend. It was entitled "Student Affairs Matters: High Impact Learning Outside the Traditional Classroom," and it was hosted by Binghamton University. This was the first conference I've ever attended and the presentations and conversations I had were very insightful and I wanted to share those with you here!



Student Affairs is a Calling
So, our Keynote Speaker, Dr. George Kuh, opened his presentation with this thought: People who work in college student affairs do it because they are called to it. It is not a job they seek out from middle school or high school, but it is something that they are called to do in this world. As a future college student or as a parent of a college student, you should be incredibly happy about this. The people that are going to help you succeed in college and who are going to be there through your trials and triumphs are there because they want to be. Student affairs professionals, myself included, are in this position because we want to help students succeed and provide them with the resources they need to graduate from college and safely enjoy their time!

Experiential Learning is Important
"The institution a student attends or the major they study is not nearly as important as the experiential learning experiences they have." -  Dr. George Kuh (If you're interested in College Student Affairs or college in general, definitely look him up!) What is experiential learning? These include internships, service-learning projects, studying abroad, research, and seminars/capstone courses. Without a doubt, when you graduate from college, employers are going to look at your experiences and how they can add to their business. If you leave with just an Accounting or Music degree and no outstanding experiences to support the knowledge you gained in the classroom, it is going to be a tough sell for finding a job. **Because of this, when looking for your undergraduate institution, you will want to find those universities which have experiential learning opportunities that you can take advantage of!

Planning Partnerships
This may be more useful once you are in college or in your Sophomore or Junior years, but if you have a plan or idea for an event, a class, a workshop, or whatever try and find partnerships with the different offices and clubs on campus. Generally speaking, students know what students want, so use that to your advantage. Pitch your idea to administrators and organization officers to see what resources you have to make your plans bigger and better. Also, more partnerships equates a bigger budget for your event, which helps you achieve what you need for your event! This goes this same for high school students! If there is something you want to do or want to see done at your high school, then go to a teacher you trust, plan it out and then you bring it to your administration! Great Ideas + Great Partnerships = Great Projects

All in all, the conference was a great learning experience for me and I hope what I learned can help you with your ideas about college and your concerns! As always, if you have questions, concerns, or something you want covered on the blog, feel free to comment, tweet me, or e-mail me!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Reminding your Recommenders

Hi everyone and Happy Saturday and Happy Thanksgiving Break to all of the college students who have next week off! (Something to look forward to high schoolers!!) Today I thought I'd give you some ideas on how to remind your recommenders to fill out your college evaluations and write your letters. This can be tricky because you don't want your teachers to feel like you're hounding them or that you're not grateful, but at the same time you want to make sure that all of your items are in before the deadline!



Here are some of my tips:

1. If you are bold and feel like it is not an issue, then just remind them like it is no big deal! You can stop in on their lunch hour, at the end of the day, or during a study lab to talk to them about it. Just be honest with them and remind them of the deadline. They may have a plan to complete it soon, but just haven't because they've been so busy.

2. You can "thank them in advance," as a way to remind your teachers to complete their evaluations and letters. Teachers are busy and may have a lot of letters to write, so a soft reminder like this will make them grateful. They honestly may have forgotten or lost track of time, so a "Hi, Mrs. Jones. I just wanted to thank you for writing my letter of recommendation and doing my evaluation, please let me know if you need anything else from me to complete it."

3. If you don't want to confront them face to face, then send them a professional e-mail with a reminder of the deadlines for each college they are evaluating you for. Much like above, reiterate how thankful you are for them writing your evaluations and helping you towards your dream of attending college. You can also say how they have helped you choose the institution or program you are going to pursue and why they are important to your schooling career.

4. If you've reminded your recommenders already and they still haven't completed your evaluation then I would enlist in the help of your guidance counselor to reach out to your teacher and reiterate the importance of their timely completion of the letter of recommendation and evaluation. Your guidance counselor may also be able to contact the Admissions Office of the universities to which you're applying about the delay in the recommendation.

Ultimately, do whatever feels naturally to you and your personality when you are reminding your teachers to complete the evaluations and if you think you need to change your recommenders, then do what is right for you and your college applications. I would definitely talk it over with your parents and your guidance counselor before you ultimately choose to change who your recommenders are.

If you are facing this issue, I hope this post has helped you determine your plan of navigation for reminding your teacher. If you have other questions or concerns along this line, please let me know and I would be happy to do a post about them and give you my recommendations!


enjoy the chase,
skylar

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wish I Knew Wednesday

"I wish I had known how many schools to apply to ... I only applied to 4 ... and I was very apprehensive that that was not enough, even though I wasn't interested in others."
Danielle P., 21, Little Falls, New York



I think that this is a very genuine question/concern that a lot of students have who are applying to college. "But for real, how many colleges should I apply to?" Unfortunately, there is no major number or equation that when solved will tell you how many colleges to apply to. You need to have options but at the same time, you need to think about what is right for you! 

First, only apply to those universities that you would be happy attending! If you know in your heart that you would rather enter the work force than attend that college then don't apply there! Don't waste your time and don't waste the university's time. If you would only be happy attending two universities, then only apply to those two, if you'd be happy at eight colleges, then apply to all eight. You have to do what's right for you!

Second, be realistic about your options. It is great to have your sights set on a few schools, but also apply to others if you don't think your chances are high of being accepted. I guess if there were a magic equation it would be, apply to 1 Reach school, 2 Standard schools, and 1 Safety school. While I don't necessarily agree with it, you need to have a realistic conversation with your school counselor and your parents about your opportunities. Don't make the only two colleges you apply to Harvard University and Yale University, but at the same time, don't just apply to community colleges when you really want to go to a four year school! Keep your options and choices in mind and make a plan!

Third, don't listen to your friends about colleges. While their insight/experiences visiting colleges may be helpful, their experiences don't always equate to your needs. If they are applying to ten schools ... good for them or if they are applying to one college ... still good for them. I think I say this all the time, but do what's right for you! Ultimately you have to live with your decisions about college, so plan wisely and apply to the colleges and universities you want! 

Pick your right path!
I only applied to two colleges for my undergraduate degree and I applied to five universities for my graduate degree. For my undergraduate, there were only two schools that I absolutely loved and could completely see myself succeeding there, so I only applied to those two. Also, I did not have the time or the desire to apply to more than those two, so I didn't! In terms of my graduate career, I applied to that many to provide me with options for my future. I was also applying to full-time jobs and graduate assistantship positions, so ultimately I wanted whatever institution I attended to fit my career choice as well. 

At the end of the day, it is not a competition with your peers, it is a competition with yourself to help build your brightest future, so apply to those colleges that fit your needs and your hopes for future successes!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Should I do an Instant Decision Session?

Hi everyone and Happy Sunday! The university where I work and study had our final Fall Open House yesterday, so I apologize for the delay in posting this! Some universities will still have opportunities for you to visit this fall, so be sure to check out those universities if you want to visit before the Holidays start! Today I want to talk to you about the choice of whether or not to take part in an instant decision session at a university that you're interested in.

Instant decision sessions vary by institutions and not all of them offer this opportunity, so it is important to check with your admissions counselor. This event is where you submit your application, test scores, letters of recommendation, and high school transcript to the college before your arrival on campus. Then, while you are out on tour or taking part in the Open House, admissions representatives review your materials and make their decision based on the materials they have on file. So, if your test scores aren't in or your transcripts aren't official, then you won't be able to receive a decision.



Here are some Pros and Cons of doing an Instant Decision Session:

Pros:
- Exactly what it says, INSTANT DECISION, if you really want to know whether you are accepted to a university, then this is the quickest way to know. You don't have to wait the three weeks (if the school has rolling admissions) or the four months (if they have a regular deadline).
- You can start planning a little earlier for your future! If you know whether you are accepted, wait-listed, or denied you can plan to apply to other schools if necessary or you can start gaining experience in the program you are interested in studying.
- If it is your top-choice university and the decision is favorable then you get to find out the fate of your future while at your dream school. That is pretty awesome!

Cons:
- There is a lot of last-minute work that goes into preparing your materials for an Instant Decision Session. You have to follow-up with your guidance department to make sure they sent everything in and that there are no delays. You also have to apply earlier than you may have planned on. It is quite a bit of stress.
- Because the admissions representatives are in a hurry to give everyone their decision, some items may be overlooked (not on purpose). Some test scores may be ignored, even though they are higher than the others, or your History teacher wrote a stronger letter of recommendation than your counselor, but they only had time to look at the one from your counselor.
- You may not get the decision you want during this visit. You could be wait-listed because your test scores aren't high enough, or you could be denied. Personally, if I am going to be denied by an institution, I'd rather it be in the comfort of my home, rather than in a public spot with others around.

There are definitely positives and negatives of choosing to take part in an Instant Decision Day, but it is important to weigh them based on your own needs and your own expectations. Personally, I never took part in an Instant Decision Session and I don't necessarily recommend doing so, just because I am a private person when it comes to school work and achievements like a college acceptance. However, if you and your family believe that an Instant Decision Session would be a positive experience for you, then why not try it out!



I hope today's post helps you consider this one aspect of college admissions and helps you weigh your options in terms of waiting for a decision or receiving it right away! If you've had a positive experience with Instant Decision, I'd love to hear, so feel free to leave it in the comments or contact me through my Contact Page! Have a great week everyone!!!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wish I Knew Wednesday

"I wish I would have gone to state school for undergrad to save up for a really good Master's program. I got a really good undergrad education but it was insanely expensive and I really wish I had put that kind of money into a Master's instead."
Amanda R., 23, Abington, Massachusetts



So this is a tricky one, every student is different, every person's financial aid package is different, and everyone's goals are different. For example, I got a better financial aid package at my private college than I would have gotten at a state university because of my merit scholarship. However, most students would get a better "end number" at a state college because their financial aid would most likely stay the same, while the cost significantly decreases. Nonetheless, each student and each university is different, so it is important to compare the "end cost" of each institution.

One suggestion that this statement brings to mind is that you need to look at the bigger picture of what you want to do in the long run. If you want to become a teacher, doctor, lawyer, psychologist, dietitian, or many other careers, you're going to need a Master's degree or higher (M.D. for doctor and J.D. for lawyer). Because of this, you should plan in terms of finances for the next six to eight years as well. The thing about graduate programs is that they rarely offer scholarship opportunities that cover a great portion of your tuition and fees. Because of that, the primary way of paying for these programs is through federal and private loans. These loans can become a huge ring-up after six straight years of schooling and interest accruing. 



Because of all of these factors, it is necessary to look at the big picture of everything: which university are you going to get the education you want, the extra-curricular opportunities you want, the professional contacts you want, and the finances you want. You should ask yourself if you are decreasing the quality of your experience by attending a "less expensive option." 

Ultimately you need to find the institution that fits all of your short-term and long-term needs!

enjoy the chase,
skylar

P.S. Check us out on Twitter at @Chasing_College and feel free to add comments below with what you'd like to see in the future on the blog!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Motivation!

Hi all! I hope you had an enjoyable and productive weekend ... working on your college and scholarship applications to have them completed and sent out before Thanksgiving Break!

I know for myself, I have lost all ambition for this semester and am struggling to stay motivated and maybe you're feeling the same way! (Grad students have motivation issues too!) I have compiled a little Get Motivated post today to help you focus on this week and get everything completed that you need to!!



SPRING BREAK!!
While Spring Break may be five to six months away, it doesn't hurt to start thinking of ideas and ways to spend your spring break! Here is a list of the 10 Best Cheap Spring Break Destinations. Personally, I am in favor of beach destinations, but you may find a mountain or city adventure is more your family's speed. Use this time now to work hard and save up money for your potential spring break vacation!

Personally, I am a fan of Myrtle Beach ... but then again
so aren't most people from the Northeast after a long Winter!

CELEBRATE VETERAN'S DAY!!
This Wednesday (November 11th) is Veteran's Day here in the USA, when we celebrate and thank the men and women who have fought for our country. So, use their bravery and their love of protecting this land as motivation to help increase your bravery of studying for an exam or working on a project. But first, thank a veteran or a veteran's family member for their sacrifices ... it would mean the world to them! Also, if you attend a Veteran's Day Parade or walk past someone from the American Legion with poppy's, give them a donation, even if it is just a dollar, the American Legion gives so much to veteran's, their families, and to active service-people and their families.

Happy Veteran's Day to my grandfather, Retired MSG Lindsay and my wonderful
grandmother for standing by his side even while they were continents apart!

It's Monday ... that means you are four days away from the weekend. That is four days to get everything accomplished on your to-do list that you can! Use the time you have this week to talk to your teachers and professors, make a new memory with your sibling, and ask for advice from your mom or dad. You can make it through this week and can make it through this semester! Work hard and reap the benefits!!

"The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That's all there ever is."
~ Eckhart Toole

enjoy the chase,
skylar

Friday, November 6, 2015

Should I do an Overnight Visit?

Hi everyone and Happy Friday! I hope you all had a great first week of November and are enjoying your classes. Tonight I want to talk a little bit more about doing an overnight visit at the colleges you are really interested in. Some universities are already offering overnight visits for prospective students, so it is important to consider whether this is a visit that fits your personality and fits your needs.

Typically universities will pair you with a student who is in the academic program that you want to join or with an athlete on the team you are being recruited for. Either way, their goal is to help you connect with this student and get a real look at what your day-to-day life will be like at the college/university. If you are an athletic recruit, you may even practice with the team to get a sense of the team dynamics.



Here are some questions you can ask yourself to figure out if an overnight visit is right for you.

Have I applied to this college?
Am I genuinely invested in this college?
Do I need more information to help make my decision?
Is this my first or second choice college?
Does it fit in my schedule?
What more do I need to learn about this college?
Will spending the night help me learn what I need to know?

Ultimately, I think it is up to you whether you want to do an overnight visit. Think about your personality and your needs and then use that to decide if it would be the right type of visit for you. (Don't forget, there are other opportunities to visit the colleges held throughout the year.) A lot of my friends from college did overnight visits during the Spring before they entered college and they said that it really helped them make their decision. You're able to see the college in its natural order, as opposed to seeing it through an admissions lens. For myself though, I had no desire to do an overnight visit, I was more concerned about going into college with an open mind and without this pre-conceived idea of what my college life would be. I did other visits though, such as Accepted Student Day and the Honor Scholar Day in the Spring -- these are geared towards students making their decisions and have some different exercises and information for students and their families.



Either way, whether you are learning towards doing an overnight visit or not, make sure you go in with an open mind. Try and relax and go with the flow. Your overnight host may have everything planned, so just go with the flow and let them show you what life's like at their college. Ultimately, have fun, ask your questions, and learn as much as you can!

enjoy the chase,
skylar 

P.S. If you are interested in doing an overnight visit, make sure you check out the university's website and also talk with your Admissions Counselor to set it up!