College Application Checklist

Essays + Supplements

Writing the main application essay is the part of the process most students dread. While it is one of the most time-consuming pieces of application preparation, it is one of the most impactful. The main essay, and any supplemental essays required by individual institutions, allow an applicant to become multidimensional. This is a chance to add their voice and personality (and sometimes humor!) to what might otherwise be a bland application.

Activity List

The activity list on a college application gives an admission reviewer the opportunity to learn about an applicant’s life outside the classroom. Because a significant amount of the college experience revolves around the many extracurricular and social activities offered at an institution, admission officers use an applicant’s activity list to assess whether they’ll be active members of the campus community. It’s important to remember that colleges are looking for depth, not just breadth, in activity lists. They want to see students who are dedicated and passionate about their activities, not simply those who start or join clubs in an attempt to pad their application.

Teacher and Counselor Recommendations

Most colleges require students to submit teacher recommendations, a recommendation from their school counselor, and a copy of their most recent transcripts. Unlike in the past, all recommendation forms and records are now sent electronically from the student’s recommenders or school directly to the colleges to which they are applying. Students should ask teachers prior to sending the electronic request and be sure to give them several weeks to complete their recommendations. While the actual submission of recommendations is done by the counselor and teachers, the responsibility of confirming they’ve been received by the colleges is the responsibility of the student.

Test Scores

In addition to having high school transcripts and recommendations sent, students will need to have the results of their ACT or SAT testing sent to each college to which they will apply. While every college in the U.S. will accept results from either one of these tests, most colleges will use just the highest score from one test sitting. It’s important to check score reporting policies for each institution as there are some who are test optional and others that may require students to submit scores from every test sitting on their record. Also, requests should be made at least one month prior to an application deadline as delivery time of test scores to colleges can take several weeks.

Review Needed Materials

Students preparing materials should be sure to check specific application requirements for each institution. Colleges also may require interviews, auditions, portfolios or additional testing depending on the type of student and program they are considering. It’s important for students to pay careful attention to requirements and deadlines for each individual college. By ensuring all materials are submitted in a timely manner, and by providing information that helps the admission committee get to know them well, students will have the best opportunities possible once decision day arrives.

credit: Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine

De-Stress Tips

Today, I want to talk about how to reduce your stress level. If you’re anything like me, I have a tendency to try to multitask too many things all at once. So I guess I’m pretty guilty myself when I tell my students how important it is take things slow and relax. (haha) But I’m working on taking this advice for myself! You may think that your day is too jam-packed with meetings and events to find the time for relaxation. Believe it or not, you can take easy measures to reduce your stress levels that won’t even take a lot of your time. Here are five tips that can help you de-stress.

1. Sensory Break
A sensory break is going to mean different things for people. What’s a tool you can use that makes you feel better? For me, it’s using a jade roller on my face. This tool revs up circulation, de-puffs the eye area, and improves skin elasticity. And since it promotes lymphatic drainage, it’s detoxifying. My addiction really lies in just how soothing it is to place the cool stone on my face when I need to de-stress. It’s also small and lightweight so you can carry this with you on the go.

2. Aromatherapy
The benefits of aromatherapy still impresses me by the speed with which a single sniff of perfume can change my mood. I purchased an Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser with changing LED mood colors on Amazon earlier this year. After trying it out for myself for a few months, I’ve definitely converted to using this little gadget pretty much everyday. This doesn’t even have to be turned on before going to bed but even during the daytime. Just place it somewhere close to your bed or desk and it will not interfere with your sleep or distract you during the daytime in any unpleasant way; the mist of the oil diffuses slowly the next few hours in an aromatic experience and keeps you feeling in a great mood.
Suggestion: If you don’t like the idea of using a machine, an all natural essential oil jelly (similar to vaseline) will do just fine. I use this Lavender organic breathe easy rub by The Honest Co. whenever I need a quick breather under my nose. Breathe into it or rub it under your nose. I guarantee it’ll feel amazing.

3. Wave Therapy
This one is similar to an aromatherapy oil diffuser but only used at night going to bed. This little machine is an all natural sleep aid after a stressful day. It facilitates a restful night’s sleep and is also recommended for babies in the nursery. You have the option to choose between 6 soothing nature sounds: White Noise, Fan, Ocean, Rain, Stream, and Summer Night. Place it on a 15, 30, or 60 minute timer or just place it on ON all night.

4. Laugh
Laughter really is the best medicine, and if you can laugh away the stress, your outlook for the rest of the day will be a lot more easy. What I like to do is watch a quick 5-10 minute stand up comedy video on YouTube. Dave Chappelle, Aziz Ansari, Ali Wong, and Louis Ck are a few of my favorite stand up comedians. Just be careful to stick to 1 or 2 videos if you go to YouTube since it’s so easy to end up browsing a million other videos.

5. Hobby
Aside from focusing on your major or career, having a separate hobby that interests you is important. It gives you a sense of purpose and helps you to stay productive. So whether that’s blogging, taking pictures, or volunteering at an animal shelter, having something to look forward to do at least once a week helps you to take some personal time for yourself aside from just studying or working.

If you have any great de-stress ideas that works for you, write me a comment below!

Not sure yet what major or career to pursue? That’s ok.

For this week’s post, I wanted to share a personal struggle of mine.
To start, I want to talk about the past. What flashbacks come to you? Are there moments that replay in your head? For many of us, it’s our 20s where we will discover a lot ourselves and who we’re meant to be.
Two main things that will happen in your 20’s into your 30’s will be 1. career/job situation and 2. people (relationships, friends, family, colleagues..)

I went to college wanting to pursue something in entertainment or in fashion. Thinking back to this today, I was intrigued by those two industries thinking it was “glamorous” and would somehow ease my low self-esteem. (by the way, nothing wrong with working in these industries) I decided to not stress on it and let the days pass. After a year of trying to work in fashion and social-media related jobs, it was clear that this industry was not for m. I knew I wanted a career with purpose and what truly interested me was talking and relating to others who have gone through hardships. I didn’t know what this meant yet but I just moved toward what interested me. People are hard wired not only to gratify their personal desires but also to care for others. I started to ask myself, instead of asking what do I want to be? I changed it to “In what ways do I wish the world were different?” “What problems can I help solve?” This put the focus on where I should be – on how I can better serve others. This was when I discovered the field of counseling and therapy.

It’s funny how love and relationships dictate so much of our actions and behaviors. As much as your 20’s are important for pursuing your dreams and career, always make time for the people who show they care about you. There will be seasons in your 20’s when you will experience a lot of growing pains whether it’d be from your relationships or job but never feel like it’s the end of the world. Don’t allow a person to become your identity and define you as a whole. Your group of friends or the person you are in a relationship with should push you to become better everyday. Be honest with yourself when it comes to your relationships.

Some of the students I do counseling for have a lot of uncertainties and questions about what college will be like and what post grad life will be like. I’m not going to lie but it’s going to be tough for a while if you are not sure what you want to do yet. But that’s okay. Even after you figure it out, there will still be seasons where you may feel uncertainties about a lot of things. Continue to stay true to yourself.