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Tagged: College

5 ways to get the most out of your school experience

August 7th, 2018

The days are slowly getting shorter, reminding us that the new school year is right around the corner.  Each new year brings on feelings of happiness, excitement … and maybe a little nervousness.  We hope our students will begin their first day with a fresh attitude and motivation to achieve all of their goals and make this year the best year yet!

What kind of student do you want to be?  How will you engage with your classmates and instructors?  Today’s article from a student newspaper website will help high school and new college students alike think about how to begin the year motivated to make the most of school experiences.  We appreciated its heartfelt message and the mention of goal-setting.  Becoming a committed part of one’s school or college community can indeed heighten motivation for academic success, and there are many different ways to be fully engaged.

Article referenced below from Uhspress

Published on July 22, 2018 by Haley Smith

“These are the best days of your life” anyone above the age of having rent and electric bills will tell you while reminiscing on the high school memories. Between crazy math tests and waking up at 6am it’s hard to see that for a lot of us. From the first day of freshman year on all that’s on our mind is graduation, here’s some simple ways to make the in between a little easier and a lot more memorable.

Read more at Uhspress >>

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Mental health matters

July 23rd, 2018

In August and September, our recent graduates will begin their first year of college.  The transition is exciting, to be sure, yet can be overwhelming to some students, even in the weeks leading up to departure.  Thoughts of making new friends, keeping up with rigorous coursework and navigating this new lifestyle without parents may lead some to feelings of depression and anxiety.  Making good decisions about sleep, nutrition, exercise and screen use – things some students view as peripheral – will have a surprisingly strong impact on success and confidence.

We do not want to raise alarm but we do want to heighten awareness by tackling an important and sobering issue today.  Colleges around the country are reporting a rise in mental health concerns among students; fortunately, many colleges are beginning to expand their counseling services.  Seeking help in times of trouble reflects strength, not weakness; it’s important for students and parents alike to recognize signs of distress, some of which may take time to surface.  

Sometimes identifying a crisis is challenging.  Because most college students are 18 or older, privacy laws in place can make it difficult for parents to access information about their student’s academic progress or difficulties they might be having.  

Each and every one of our students has gifts beyond measure.  As we share today’s article link, we hope not to dampen enthusiasm for the great life adventure that lies ahead for them.  Yet the writer’s stark discussion of suicide on college campuses and ideas about how parents can stay in the know when it comes to their child’s mental health feels enormously important.  We think you will agree.

Article referenced below from The New York Times

Published on July 2, 2018 by Jane E. Brody

This column is a plea to all current and future college students and their families to deal openly and constructively with emotional, social and academic turmoil that can sometimes have heartbreaking — and usually preventable — consequences.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death, after traffic accidents, among college students. For most, it’s their first time living away from home, away from the support and comfort usually provided by good friends and family members. The adjustment can be overwhelming for some students, especially those who don’t make friends easily or who have difficulty meeting the demands of challenging college courses.

Read more at The New York Times >>

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Inside look at disability services for college

July 9th, 2018

We hope everyone enjoyed the holiday week – Independence Day provides an opportunity to reflect on our country’s founding tenets and can be quite stirring.  Of course, fireworks and cookouts are stirring in their own right!

Heading off to college is a time to establish independence, too, and this new-found self-reliance can be a major adjustment for both parents and students. Students with disabilities have an even bigger responsibility of managing how they will request and utilize services to help them achieve success in their studies.  Throughout the K-12 years parents have played that role, but now it’s time for students to become their own advocate as parents take a back seat and give encouragement along the way.

The purpose of accommodations in college is to give equal access and opportunity to all students.  It’s important to take advantage of this and understand what options are available to you if you’ve been receiving accommodations in high school.  The link we share below leads to a wonderful guide to the college accommodations process from the Office of Disability Resources at Carnegie Mellon University.

As a bonus, the videos linked here ( are terrific short clips modeling appropriate behavior for students when navigating this task.

We want all students to experience success in their new educational homes.  With the right attitude and initiative, we know that everyone can!

Article referenced below from Carnegie Mellon Disability Services

You and your student are embarking on an incredibly exciting, yet challenging chapter of their life.  Going away to college is a wonderful opportunity and accomplishment for students.  here at CMU, we pride ourselves in offering an academically rigorous, student-centered environment where students’ hearts are in the work they do.  We welcome students with disabilities and provide responsive and reasonable accommodations that allow them to do their best work.

For students with disabilities and their families, the transition to any college often presents unique challenges and opportunities.  Students become responsible for arranging their own accommodations and communicating their needs to university faculty and staff.  Parents or guardians’ roles change from advocating for their K-12 children’s needs to providing support as their college-aged adult children advocate for themselves.  The laws underpinning the provision of disability accommodations change from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  While accommodations available in the college setting are often similar to those a student received in high school, a greater level of independence is expected of college students, and college-based accommodations may not be identical to those offered in the K-12 setting.

Read more at Carnegie Mellon >>

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Summer splash: diving into college applications

June 25th, 2018

In the world of college admissions, all summers are important for high school students but we see a special opportunity for rising seniors.  In between your structured activities, summer is the perfect time to make major progress on your college applications.  And for rising juniors, setting up a Common App account now gives you the opportunity to add activities and honors over time.

As you approach the Common App with great thoughtfulness, you really want to consider what the reader wants to know. When I sat on college admission committees, the applications that stood out most gave me a sense that the student was sitting right next to me and I could engage in conversation with him or her.  The way you describe yourself should be compelling, while giving an accurate description of your interests and accomplishments.  I encourage all students to approach their work in this way.

A few things to consider when composing your application…

  • Sometimes the activities line does not give you enough space; use the “additional information” portion of the writing section to add important details.
  • The essay prompts used for fall 2018 entry will remain the same for students beginning their applications now.  The choice of which prompt to address is less important than the story to tell – the essay should provide a window into your life.
  • The Common App will be offline from July 27 (midday) to July 31 in preparation to launch the 2018-2019 application on August 1.
    During this time, colleges’ questions are updated and the previous year’s applicants are stored.

    • Account Rollover retains an active applicant’s college list and the seven sections of the ‘Common App’ tab: Profile, Family, Education, Testing, Activities, Writing, and Courses & Grades.
    • After August 1, students may log on with the same username and password, respond to a few questions and find their previous work intact.
    • College supplements, however, will be refreshed and any work on those would be deleted – so while it is okay to peek at last year’s questions, do not tackle college supplements in your Common App until after the Rollover period.
      • Some colleges will place new essay and short answer prompts on their admission sites ahead of the Rollover so it can be wise to check each college’s website for a head-start on institution-specific questions.

Many of our students already have opened their Common App accounts.  If not, please go to to get started today!


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