How to Choose Between AP, IB, and Dual Enrollment

As University of South Florida’s (USF's) Dean of Admissions, I am often asked by students and their families about the relative benefits and challenges of acceleration programs, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual enrollment (DE). Choosing to enroll in AP, IB, DE, or another credit-by-examination program can save you time, save you money, help you accrue college credits, improve your chances of acceptance at your schools of choice, prepare you for the rigors of college academics, and raise your weighted GPA. Here is what I tell students and their parents: How to choose between AP, IB, and dual enrollment is a personal decision that depends on your learning style, your lifestyle, and your goals.


How to Transition from High School to College During COVID-19

Successfully advancing from high school to college isn’t easy. It gets particularly difficult when a highly infectious disease becomes one of the risks of communal life on campus. That’s the new reality, but incoming freshmen will find they only need to adapt and overcome to successfully transition from high school to college during COVID-19.


Why Meeting with Your College Counselor Is Important

Think getting into college is as simple as researching a school, submitting an application, and waiting for a reply? Easy peasy, right? Maybe. You can certainly tackle the college hunt on your own, but working with your college counselor can make the process much less stressful and more effective. Why is meeting with your college counselor important? Here are seven ways they can give your search a boost.


Should You Delay College: Is a Gap Year A Good Idea?

Members of the COVID Class of 2020 have already sacrificed prom, traditional graduation ceremonies, and other rites of passage on the altar of the novel coronavirus. Is freshman year next? The thought of one more milestone going up in smoke is enough to induce nausea. However, should you delay college: Is a gap year a good idea? We explore the pros and cons below.


How to Manage Time Effectively in Online Courses

Whether you were involuntarily thrust into online courses by the recent pandemic or thoughtfully chose an online degree program, learning to manage time effectively can make or break your experience in the virtual classroom. The good news? If you were an outstanding student in traditional classes, the transition to online learning doesn’t have to be difficult. Our time management tips for online students can help you thrive in this brave new world and manage time effectively in online courses.


How to Celebrate Your Virtual High School Graduation

Hello, Quarantined Class of 2020: You’re living through a bizarre time. Like many of the nearly 4 million high school seniors in America, you’ve said goodbye to commencement ceremonies, proms, senior parties, sporting events, and end-of-year trips. Is it a huge bummer? Yes. But with a little creativity, you can still make the end of your senior year unforgettable. We’ll show you how to connect with friends, acknowledge your accomplishment, and throw an awesome graduation party — all while safely social distancing. Here’s how to celebrate your virtual high school graduation during the coronavirus crisis.


How to Make Studying Fun

Can you actually enjoy your next study session? Yes. Although homework is never going to be your favorite activity (unless you’re Hermione Granger), you can transform your experience with a few simple tips. Here are nine fun ways to make studying fun


Tips for Success in Online Courses This Summer

Thinking about enrolling in summer school? Smart choice! Taking summer classes is a great way to stay on track in college or get ahead academically. If your GPA or credit hours are not where you want them to be, enrolling in distance classes over summer break also can help you catch up or make up a credit. Follow our tips for success in online courses this summer and you’ll be set to squeeze as much as possible out of college summer school.  


5 Ways to Connect with Peers in an Online Class

Teachers long have known that the critical step in delivering knowledge is to engage the student. Teacher-student interaction is the essence of that. Students teaming up to problem-solve is the holy grail of the student-teacher interaction, with smart instructors leading the way and then stepping back to witness learning in action. It’s why classmates matter, and it’s why students determined to maximize their e-school experience should know these 5 ways to connect with peers in an online class.


Top 6 Myths About Online Learning

Before the COVID-19 pandemic spread to every corner of the earth, you may have given little thought to online learning. Or maybe you heard the whispers that online classes were easy, or that your brother could take your calculus final for you and no one would ever know. Now that students at nearly every university in the United States have transitioned to remote learning, it’s time to separate fact from fiction. Follow along as we debunk the top 6 myths about online learning.


10 Tips to Help Students Succeed in Online Classes

Online courses can be a great way to juggle work, social activities and academic priorities. That is why nearly 67 percent of USF’s undergraduate students take at least one online course each academic year. But there is a difference between choosing to take a single online course for convenience, and suddenly finding yourself taking all your courses virtually. There’s no shortage of advice on how to adapt to online learning. With a few caveats, those same tips apply when a pandemic jams virtually every college student into the fast lane of digital learning. Here are 10 tips to help students succeed in online classes.


College Decision Day: Questions to Ask Before You Commit

May 1 is dramatically billed as national College Decision Day. It feels a little like the final rose ceremony on a certain TV show, doesn’t it? If you’re not exactly head-over-heels for any of the schools that want you, or you think they’re all equally dreamy, it’s time to break the tie. In the weeks leading up to College Decision Day, you’ve got questions to ask before you commit to a school. You might discover your final choice isn’t just a smart decision; it’s true love.  


The Pros and Cons of Having a Double Major

College offers you the freedom and independence to choose the field of study that interests you the most. Some students decide to major in two different fields or double major. Check out some of the most common pros and cons of having a double major in college.


What Does Each College Application Status Mean?

Ah, spring. It’s a time for blooming flowers, rising temperatures, and receiving college admission decisions. We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of ecstatic students jumping for joy over receiving an acceptance letter. However, there is a lesser known but equally common reaction that occurs: Tearing open an envelope and wondering “what does my college application status mean?”


How to Stay Organized this Spring: Tips for College Counselors

If ever there was a self-help movement that translates fluently to the office of a college counselor, it’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, created by Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo. If you want to know how to stay organized this spring, we have tips for college counselors inspired by the tidying up movement to help you create a clutter-free, efficient, and welcoming office that will help you do your job with more joy and deliver better results for your students.


Celebrating Valentine’s Day Single at College

Single this Valentine’s Day? You can still have a blast. We’ve compiled a list of activities to help you make the most of this holiday — no significant other needed. (In fact, you don’t have to share your chocolate box this way. We’d call that a win.) Here’s to celebrating Valentine’s Day single at college.


What’s the Difference Between the Main Campus and Satellite Campus?

If your top-choice college is a large public school, it could be part of a university system, meaning it has a flagship or main campus as well as several regional, branch, or satellite campuses. Before you start clicking the send button on your applications, you might want to ask yourself if you’re clear on this important question: What’s the difference between the main campus and a satellite campus? Our handy guide to the advantages and challenges of both campus types can help you decide on the right choice for you.


Everything You Need to Know About the ACT Test

The most important thing to know about the ACT test is whether it’s important to you. If college is the path to your dreams and the ACT is the best fit for you, the answer is a resounding yes. So, in case, as teachers often say, there will be a test, here’s everything you need to know about the ACT test.


When to Start College Internships

It’s almost always a good time to build personal and professional networks, explore career options, gain work experience, and enhance a résumé. So, it’s not a matter of whether you should do a college internship, but simply when. And deciding when to start college internships depends on your past, your future, and your timeline.


How to Set a College Student Budget

Tuition, textbooks, groceries, laundry, transportation – the list of college expenses can sometimes seem longer than the Great Wall of China. It’s easy for students managing money on their own for the first time to become overwhelmed by the responsibility of it all, or worse yet, to overspend. Creating a solid college student budget can help keep the stress, and your finances, in check.


Top Six Financial Aid Tips for Parents

Starting the financial aid process is a lot like diving into a bowl of alphabet soup. FAFSA, EFC, CSS Profile, SAR – what do they all mean? Where should you begin? What’s most important? If you want to help your child reduce the cost of college without becoming a financial aid officer, never fear. Our top six financial aid tips for parents highlight the key points to help you get the most money for college.


Fun Winter Activities for College Students

January and February are sandwiched between the glow of holiday parties and the sunshiny promise of spring break. If we’re being honest, these two months can get a little boring. But listen up! We’re about to change that. Challenge yourself to complete each of these fun winter activities for college students, and you might dub this your new favorite time of year.


New Year's Resolution Ideas for College Students

A psychotherapist was kind enough to give Business Insider three common reasons your New Year’s resolutions often fail: You aren’t being specific enough. You aren’t framing them positively. They aren’t about you. Got that? Now check out our New Year’s resolution ideas for college students, and pick a few to adapt to your needs. When you make them yours, remember to be specific, focus on the positive aspects of your goals, and be sure they are things you really want.


How to Make Winter Break Productive

If you’re a high school senior, winter break offers a wonderfully structure-free, stress-free window of time. But how does a college-bound high school student turn two solid weeks into anything but an extended nap punctuated by cookies and some couch time with the grandparents? We have useful suggestions for making the most of your time off, no matter where you are in the college application process: If you’re a senior already accepted by your college of choice, or you’re a senior nervously awaiting an answer from a college (any college!), or you’re a senior procrastinating until the last minute to get that application submitted, we know how to make winter break productive, with plenty of time left over for marathon meet-ups with the holiday cookie jar.


7 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season on a College Student's Budget

The holiday season is here. Time to do all your favorite activities: make snow angels for two hours, go ice-skating, and eat a whole roll of Toll House cookie dough as fast as you can. But wait! This is your first year away from home, on a new college campus. Is there even snow? Do you have access to enough Toll House cookie dough? Is your roommate on board with the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup? 


How to Stay Ahead of the College Application Process

Applying to colleges demands a defined game plan for the deadlines and details you have to deal with in a timely and mature manner. You need to know what you want, what’s required, when it’s due, and where you stand, with as little stress as possible. How to stay ahead of the college application process comes down to planning, timing, organization, and a whole new level of anxiety management that starts with a detailed timeline and ends with the satisfaction of knowing you represented yourself admirably to your top-choice schools. 


Priority Deadlines to Early Decision: Your Guide to College Admission Types

If you’re just getting started on your college applications, you may be surprised to learn you have more than one way to apply. Each choice comes with its own set of requirements and deadlines that can affect your chances of acceptance. So, which one is right for you? Read on to learn the pros and cons of the seven major college admission types (including priority deadline and rolling admission, the two types used at USF).


5 Tips to Prepare for an Out-of-State College

Your college journey is going to be a blast. As an out-of-state student, you’ll experience new adventures far from your hometown — an idea that probably excites and overwhelms you. How do you get ready for life in another state? Start with our five tips on how to prepare for an out-of-state college.


What Makes a College Military Friendly?

If you’re among the 0.4 percent of Americans active in the armed forces, the 7 percent who have served, or the 39 percent of troops since World War II who reported serving in combat or a war zone, you deserve more than a “thanks for your service.” As we observed this year's Veterans Day, a lot of thank-you’s were heard and seen. Gratitude is appreciated, but not as much as high-quality medical care and education. Both were promised. The Post-911 GI Bill reinvigorated the promise of an education, and a lot of schools are stepping up. Our look at what makes a college military friendly focuses on those actions, not words.


So You’ve Decided to Change Your College Major

It can feel monumental, or even tragic, to consider switching your intended or actual major, especially if you are deeply vested in the idea of yourself with a particular degree. But take comfort in this: Changing majors is really common. According to the U.S. Department of Education, one-third of college students change their minds at least once, and a solid 10 percent switch their major two times or more. If you do it thoughtfully, selecting a more suitable field of study can be the best thing you ever did, no matter if you are an entering freshman, a transfer student, or an almost upperclassman who needs to seal the deal on all the credits you’ve been accruing. A new major can lead you to a more meaningful career and work aligned with your truest self. So, if you’ve decided to change your college major, consider this the perfect time to get focused, select a fantastic new major, and keep yourself on track to graduate on time.


College Student Voting: How to Vote While You’re in College

“Elections belong to the people,” Abraham Lincoln said. Sure, you say, but you’re not going to bother with elections because you don’t know how to vote while you’re in college. If that’s the case, consider the rest of Lincoln’s quote: “If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”


How to Fight Your Fear of College

This is being written as Halloween approaches and October slips away, bringing you one month closer to the end of your senior year of high school. You’re getting serious about the college application process, and that conjures thoughts of leaving home, living with strangers, and tackling college-level courses. Worse yet, you’re terrified that you won’t fit in, and you’re still shrugging your shoulders when aunts and uncles ask about majors. Let’s jump ahead one year to get a new perspective on how to fight your fear of college.


Campus Resources Students Should Start Using

When you’re a college student, some experiences will be a given. Eating in the dining hall and screaming from the stands at a big game are standard rites of passage. Ditto for the dorm party and the all-night study session. But did you know you could be missing out on fantastic events, opportunities, and services because you just didn’t know they were available? We can’t let that happen. So, we invite you to explore campus resources students like you should start using right away to make the most of your once-in-a-lifetime college experience.


What Is a Research University?

From global positioning systems and magnetic resonance imaging to the nicotine patch and antibiotics, research universities are responsible for some of mankind’s greatest discoveries. But beyond its power as an engine of innovation, what is a research university, and can it provide an ideal environment for an undergraduate student like you?


10 Laundry Hacks for College Students

College laundry discussions, from talk of laundry room etiquette to tips on having reasonably clean clothes to wear, have a common back story: The family laundry load shrinks when college claims a family member; said family member carries that missing share of the laundry load to campus, where hygiene-related health concerns and social mores force the scholar to pony up cash for private laundry service or develop a sudden interest in reading things like “10 Laundry Hacks for College Students.”


What I Learned During My Study Abroad Experience

Each and every study abroad experience is different. Want to scuba dive? Visit Australia. Want to learn the Chinese language? Take a trip to China. Whether you’re traveling to the other side of the world or just across the pond, there’s a world of differences to explore. Consider what I learned before, during, and after my study abroad experience.


How to Find a Mental Health Counselor and What to Expect from Therapy

You’re thinking about going to therapy, but you’re not sure how to find a good therapist. Do you rub a magic bottle until someone grants you three mental-health wishes? Do you stay at home until a gray-bearded mentor knocks on your door and invites you on a quest to enlightenment? Do you (and this seems most mysterious of all) wade through your insurance website until you find a doctor covered by your plan? It’s enough to make you pull the covers over your head. Don’t worry: We’re here to demystify the process. In recognition of World Mental Health Day, we're sharing tips on how to find a mental health counselor and what to expect from therapy.


What to Know Before Joining Greek Life

Maybe you’re a fan of secret handshakes. (I mean, aren’t we all?) Or maybe you like the idea of having a big extended family of “brothers” and “sisters” on campus. Whatever it is, you’re intrigued by your college’s fraternity or sorority, but you’re not ready to rush just yet. Here’s what you should know before joining Greek life.


What to Expect when a College Rep Visits Your High School

So, a representative of a university you like will be visiting your high school. Try this: Grill your high school counselor about the session rules and setting. Research the college to ensure you aren’t wasting your time and know enough to avoid wasting theirs. Have a list of useful questions. Be prepared to comport yourself well and courteously. Vie for an opening to present yourself one-on-one. It’s about trying to figure out what to expect when a college rep visits your high school and positioning yourself to make the most of the experience.


What’s the Best Type of Campus Tour?

When you’re narrowing your college list, everyone will tell you that the best way to choose a school is to get to know it personally and that the best way to do that is by taking a campus tour. But how do you choose between a self-guided tour or an open house? What’s better, a virtual experience or a student-guided group tour? No style of college visit in person or online will be perfect for every student or every school, but our quick guide will help you decide what’s the best type of campus tour for you.


Why Rankings for the Best Public Universities Matter

The University of South Florida is America’s fastest-rising university among all public or private universities, and is now ranked #44 among public universities, according to U.S. News and World Report. The rise from 58 last year to 44 this year signifies a major accomplishment for USF and continues an unparalleled trajectory among public or private universities in the United States.


Veterans and College Admission FAQs

Military training and experience position veterans for college. Federal legislation helps make college possible for veterans. And colleges strive to enroll veterans and help them succeed. The facts behind those statements answer many of the FAQs on veterans and college admission.


Mental Health in College: Why It's Important and What You Can Do

The brain deserves our attention. It may only weigh about three pounds, but it’s been called the most complex object in the universe. The fact that you are able to read these words at all is thanks to your brain, with its network of 86 billion neurons. It’s so intricate, we still don’t fully understand how it all works. And yet, sometimes we feel ashamed when this organ’s complicated functioning misfires. We mistakenly think that nobody else gets depressed, anxious, or sad, and we ignore our symptoms instead of telling anyone how we feel.


How to Choose Your Room Style at College

If you’re not sure how to choose your room style at college, you’re not alone. With a wide and overwhelming range of student housing at most colleges, it can get confusing for incoming students and their families. But if you use our tips as a guide — and pay attention to the do’s and don’ts of selecting a residence hall — you’ll set yourself up for an excellent freshman-year living experience on campus. To figure out how to choose your room style at college, start by understanding the pros and cons of your student housing options.


How to Make Your Day More Productive: Tips for College Counselors

For college counselors, productivity is a measure of how many students can be helped in a day. Nationally, the average ratio of public-school counselors to students is 482-to-1. That means knowing how to make your day more productive is about effectively and efficiently handling a workload that is nearly double the recommended level of 250-to-1. The challenge is great, and the stakes are high.


Talking About the College Transition: Tips for Parents

Starting college is a series of firsts for students and their parents. Research, campus visits, and the all-important orientation offer data points and examples of what being a freshman means. But there’s no dry run, no drill, no simulation that can fully put a student in a freshman’s shoes and parents in that all but helpless mode of waiting and wondering from afar. There is, though, a simple, free, and effective way for parents and students to prepare, and that’s talking about the college transition.


Tips for Parents on Teaching College-Bound Students How to Be Independent

It’s a safe bet that someone somewhere is writing a doctoral thesis or medical journal article on why there are so many labels these days for overprotective parents: helicopter parents, bulldozer parents, snowplow parents, to name a few. Here’s one likely takeaway from that article: Tips for parents on teaching college-bound students how to be independent should be informed by a vaccine analogy. A shot of responsibility now can give your student enough confidence to survive the independence of freshman year.


Top Tips for College Counselors on Beating Summer Melt

In community college circles, summer melt is when students who enroll in the spring don’t show up come fall. With four-year colleges, melt is where students commit to school in the spring but never enroll. They say melt stops one-tenth or one-fifth or one-third or up to 40 percent of college-bound students, depending on who’s talking. You, however, know those statistics pile up one person at a time, and those numbers can represent names and faces you know. That’s why we want you to have our top tips for college counselors on beating summer melt.


Summer Reading for the College-Bound Student

Can reading Harry Potter prepare you for freshman year? Yes, Potterheads, you’ll be happy to know that you can count Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as part of your college prep. Studies have shown that reading fiction changes your brain in a positive way. Novels sweep you into new experiences, broaden your worldview, and increase your ability to empathize, making you a stronger college applicant.


Top Tips for Planning College Visit Road Trips

Buckle up — your college search is hitting the road. Whether your tour of college campuses takes you across the state or all the way across the country, a road trip will be a real education about yourself, your school preferences, your priorities, and your family (because nothing teaches you more about your relatives than being stuck in a car with them for hours every day).


College Campus Tours in Summer

Spring and fall campus tours get all the glory, but for many students, there is no better time than summer to get to know a school. Visiting schools in summer can be the first step in the college search in your sophomore or junior year, or it can be among final steps for rising seniors narrowing their list of target schools as the application deadline approaches. No matter where you are in your search, college campus tours in summer might be the best option for a more relaxed and realistic exploration of the schools you’re considering.


10 Things I Wish I Knew Before College

College can be terrifying, especially that freshman year. As a junior at the University of South Florida, I speak from experience. I have failed and succeeded in many aspects of my college career, and I’m here to help you by sharing what I’ve learned. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before college started.


Do Extracurriculars Matter in the College Admissions Process?

High school students often wonder if extracurriculars matter in the college admissions process. The short answer is yes. But, before plunging into a longer answer about why they matter and what kinds of extracurricular activities you should pursue, consider that, for admissions officers, extracurriculars break into the Top 4 of must-haves for an applicant, but they do not outweigh what you do in the classroom or how you perform on entrance exams.


5 Things That Surprised Me About College

No matter your high school experience, you are sure to find a wide range of differences between high school and college. Here are some thoughts on my transition from Catholic high school student to college freshman, some tips to make your transition easier, and a list of the top 5 things that surprised me about college.


How to Use Your Summer to Explore Careers

What you do the summer before you start college can help you decide what you want to do with your life and what to focus on in college. If you’ve already chosen a major, you may already have a career path; if not, examining options can at the very least help you rule some out. The choices are yours, and smart decisions can come from knowing how to use your summer to explore careers.


National Merit Scholars at USF: A Parent Perspective

Before Chris came to visit the University of South Florida with his son, a National Merit Scholar, he admitted he was hesitant: “I was skeptical of this place. Just not knowing anything about it.” Chris and his family are from Rochester, Minn., about 1,500 miles away, so it’s no surprise that the University of South Florida wasn’t on the family’s radar.


Pros and Cons of Starting at a Community College

Even if a diploma from a powerhouse university is your lifelong goal, you’re wise to consider the benefits of beginning your bachelor’s degree at a community college. Sometimes called city college or junior college, community college is a phenomenal launching pad: 49 percent of students at universities begin at a two-year school. Offering accessible education to all and the promise of an associate degree in as little as four semesters, a community college can be a smart option. Conversely, starting your college life at a two-year school can pose a few challenges. Let’s consider both — the upsides and the downsides of community college — and how you can leverage a two-year program into your lifelong goal: a university bachelor’s degree. Here are the pros and cons of starting at a community college to help you make the best choice for you.


Exploring College Majors: Engineering Track

If you were the kid who took apart the lawn mower (and could actually put it back together), or you programmed an amazing app as a fun sixth-grade project, or you exhausted every math class in your school before your sophomore year, you might consider exploring engineering track majors during your college search.


How to Finish Senior Year Strong

Congratulations. You’re in the spring of your senior year, which means you’re almost done with high school. Be proud of this accomplishment, celebrate it — and prepare for a busy semester. Before you don that cap and gown, you’ve still got plenty of academic and emotional challenges left to tackle. We’re here to help. Here are six tips to help you finish senior year strong (including how to fight off senioritis).


Success in College: Expectations Versus Reality

It feels good to be in control. That’s what many students look forward to in college: being in control of their time, their social calendar, their academic responsibilities, and their emotional balance. They want to celebrate their independence and entrance into adulthood. Things happen, however, that can derail that feeling of control, and success in college can hinge on expectations versus reality and how you bridge the gap.


Tips to Stay Healthy During the Spring Semester

When you enroll in college, you’re embarking on a quest of self-discovery. What major interests you? What’s your dream job? And, just as importantly, what makes you feel healthy? A successful college experience encompasses your whole self. It goes deeper than academics, teaching you daily habits that lead to physical, mental, and emotional balance.


College Campus Diversity: Why It Matters

There are many good reasons for making diversity a deciding factor in your college search. We can (and will) make an argument for why college campus diversity is important by citing personal advantages you can count on when you choose a diverse campus, even if you are not a minority. The best pro-diversity argument, though, is the impressive breadth of benefits that quickly becomes apparent when examining college campus diversity and why it matters.


Get Seniors Ready for College: Must-Do Tips for Counselors

College-bound seniors spend a sizable chunk of their final year of high school sweating the details of the college application process. It’s a test of patience and perseverance you can help them ace, especially if you don’t let scattergrams and endless paperwork squeeze the humanity out of the process. To help you get seniors ready for college, our must-do tips for counselors focus on human elements of the college challenge.


Tips for Traveling to Out-of-State Colleges of Interest

Would you buy a house without touring the property and checking its history? Choosing a college you haven’t visited is the Imax version of that scenario. Unfortunately, out-of-state college visits can mean spending time and money you don’t have and dealing with logistical challenges. Our tips for traveling to out-of-state colleges of interest can help.


5 Tips to Meet New People at College

Moving away from home and leaving behind your friends and family can be tough. Sixty-six percent of college students report being homesick in their freshman year. I remember coming to USF and feeling overwhelmed about meeting people and becoming acclimated to campus life. However, I found it easy to befriend my roommates and neighbors in my residence hall. Making new friends in a place far from home may seem like a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are our top 5 tips to meet new people at college and get more engaged on campus.


Top Spring Break Tips for College Counselors

Spring break is a high school milestone. For juniors and seniors, life-altering changes loom. The person tasked with helping students manage those changes by shaping college and career dreams knows the holiday is a green light for juniors to start the application process in earnest and seniors to finish strong. It’s all about positioning, and our top spring break tips for college counselors are designed to help them position students for success.


Benefits of Being a National Merit Scholar

A thing’s value to a person depends on what matters to that person. That’s subjective. A thing’s value also can be tangible and quantifiable. That’s objective. Pride born of doing something few people can accomplish is subjective, and academic and personal excellence that can be measured in dollars, diplomas, and careers is objective. The point is that, when considered both subjectively and objectively, the benefits of being a National Merit Scholar are tangible, quantifiable, and potentially deeply satisfying.


What I Learned My First Year at College

Acclimating to university life can be a dynamic change in the lives of many incoming first year students. While your first year of college will be great, sometimes you will be stressed. The sudden shift in environment and new course materials may intimidate you, you might miss your family. What I learned my first year of college though, is that this is all normal. The important thing about your first year of college, is learning the good habits that put you into good shape for your college career, and future career.


Online Classes at College: What You Need to Know

When you think about college classes, you may picture a large lecture hall crammed with students diligently taking notes, a professor at the front of the room, and a deck of PowerPoint slides showing in the background. If, however, you enroll in an online course, your classroom could be a cozy spot in your bedroom, a corner in a coffee shop, or a shady spot on a lawn. It’s not old-school education, and that’s why questions arise about online classes at college and what you need to know if you’re considering the digital route.


Tips for Checking Out an Honors College During a Campus Visit

Joining an honors college comes with its perks. Being part of a tight-knit community within a large university is just one of them. When touring potential honors colleges, the feeling should be the same: personalized, intimate, and collaborative. Read up on our tips for checking out an honors college during a campus visit.


What to Expect When You Start College

The first time you are on a college campus will be an eye-opening realization. A realization that all the hard work put forth in high school has paid off. Feeling the satisfaction of earning a higher level of education is great. Remember, you’re new to the college scene, so there are probably a few things you will have questions about. Here’s what to expect when you start college to help you get started.


How to Research Campus Safety

No matter what types of colleges you’re exploring – small or large, rural or urban – chances are you’re wondering how safe you’ll be on each campus. It’s a valid concern for both students and families as crime continues to increase. An important safeguard is to gather crime data and learn about the safety measures in place at each college you’re considering so you can make informed decisions. Not sure how to get started? Here are five ideas on how to research campus safety at your target schools.


Time Management Tips for College Students

So much to do, so little time! Time management can be hard for new college students. Students have new responsibilities, but also spend less time in class and have less structure to their days. To stay on top of school work, experts recommend the following time management tips:


Spring Semester Tips for High School Juniors

The spring semester of your junior year of high school can feel anticlimactic: You’re stuck somewhere in the middle of high school, the novelty has faded, and the urgency of your senior year hasn’t hit yet. A long summer still separates you from any important decisions, right?


College Decision Letters: Your Next Steps

The college application process is complex, time consuming, and difficult, and it doesn’t end when the responses arrive. The anxiously awaited news from the schools you target will be that you have been wait-listed, deferred, rejected, or accepted. Along with triggering an array of emotions, what you learn when opening those college decision letters will dictate your next steps.


Helping Your Students Rank Their College Priorities: A Guide for Counselors

For a counselor to pair college-bound high school students with the right schools, the students must know what they want and need. Sounds simple, but counselors know that most of their students still will be figuring those things out come senior year. What students must learn is that success in the college selection process is about identifying and satisfying their wants and needs when it comes to academics, social life/atmosphere, finances, location, and infrastructure/services. Those areas are where the focus should be when you help students choose their college priorities.


Common Financial Aid Terms Defined

College education costs are a hot topic today. With the outstanding balance on student loans in the U.S. hitting $1.53 trillion and growing in the second quarter of 2018, that’s no surprise. In fact, those loans are a big barrier to building wealth. Many recent grads say they have even decided to put off milestones such as purchasing a home. To help you dodge any costly mistakes, we put together a list with the most common financial aid terms defined.


How to Choose High School Electives with College in Mind

Your high school transcript is the key to opening doors at colleges that interest you, showing who you are by quantifying what you can do and your willingness to tackle rigorous studies and explore unfamiliar ground. Elective courses are how you can shape that high school transcript and those admissions officers’ opinions. Knowing how to choose electives with college in mind will make it more likely that those opinions will make you smile.


Does Volunteering Matter for College Admissions?

In the eyes of admissions officers, motive is an important aspect of an applicant’s community service record. Having a long history of volunteer work matters, too. As do the type, amount, and results. And beyond benefiting the community, there’s a dollar value and intangible reward for the volunteer. Those are the points, running the gamut from altruistic to materialistic, that we address in answering an unexpectedly complex question: Does volunteering matter for college admissions?


Campus Visits in Winter: What You Can Learn

Winter tours are when you see a campus in its work clothes. These are the no-frills pages of most college calendars, with few special events and lots of studying. Holiday activities are becoming memories, the school year’s end remains distant but is taking shape, and the freshmen you want to grill are on their way to becoming college veterans. So, if you are a high school senior on campus visits in winter, here are four things you really need to know.


Top 5 College Experiences You Won’t Forget

Starting college is overwhelming. You are thrust into a new life in an unfamiliar place, and it can be hard to stay current with all the available events and activities while keeping up with classes. College, however, is more than just attending classes and getting good grades. It’s a combination of discovery, involvement, and enjoyment, and activities in and out of the classroom are part of shaping the complete experience. Here’s our list of the top 5 college experiences you won’t forget, activities every student should explore during their college years.


What Not to Do on College Applications

The hard truth is that the application process is the time consuming, challenging, nerve-racking, and unavoidable path to college. The soft spot is that there are ways to boost the odds that you’ll get where you want to go. Step one is knowing what not to do on college applications.


How to Help Families Research Colleges: Tips for Counselors

Getting students in the right colleges is a complex job with high stakes. Counselors can inform the process and inspire, but only the students and parents can make the decisions that shape the lists of target schools and final decisions. The research that students and their families must do will define those lists and decisions. That’s the thinking behind our 10 tips for counselors on how to help families research colleges.


Winter Break Tips for High School Seniors Preparing for College

Winter break is perfectly timed for college-bound high school seniors who need a respite from classes, some time with family and friends, and relief from the college hunt jitters. ’Tis that season, so here’s a gift that can ease those jitters and help seniors maximize holiday cheer: winter break tips for high school seniors preparing for college.


Being an Honors Student: A Student’s Perspective on the USF Honors College

I am in my second year at USF, and one of the deciding factors for attending this school was being an honors student in the Honors College. I’ve always loved learning, and discussion has become increasingly important to the way I learn. Coming to college, I wanted to make sure that some of my classes would be small enough for me to have conversations in class about the subject matter with the professor and my peers and not just sit quietly through a lot of big lecture hall classes.

 


What Are the Benefits of Smaller Class Size in College?

Determining the optimum college class size is akin to finding the best setting on a residence hall thermostat. Satisfaction and results vary, and they depend on the class (residence hall) and the participants (roommates). That’s because one person’s comfort zone can be where another finds misery. There are, however, a number of good answers and supporting arguments for those who ask: What are the benefits of smaller class size in college?


5 Things College Students Want Their Parents to Know

It took a while, but your college student no longer gets lost going to classes, knows the best times to arrive to get parking spots, and has developed the taste buds needed to consume campus cuisine. It’s going well. New college students and parents alike are coping with being apart for many weeks, probably for the first time. But if the weekly calls just aren't enough to say everything that needs to be said, here are 5 things college students want their parents to know.


5 Tips to De-Stress for New College Students

No doubt you’ve heard that being a college student is stressful. It’s easy for students to put a lot of pressure on themselves and feel overwhelmed by the transition and new demands. While there’s no way to completely avoid stress, there are strategies you can use to better manage it and become more resilient as a result. Here are our top 5 tips to help college students de-stress.


Avoid These FAFSA Mistakes

If you’re counting on financial aid to help with college costs, you already know you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine your eligibility. What you may not know is that common FAFSA mistakes can lead to some costly consequences, including processing delays and receiving less aid than you’re entitled to. Avoid these FAFSA mistakes by preparing in advance.


What to Expect on SAT Test Day

College Board’s SAT has been a source of test day jitters for aspiring college students since 1926. The test and testing methods have evolved, but the jitters and the best ways to cope with them haven’t: Study until your confidence level tames those nerves, and know what to expect on SAT test day.


Grants and Scholarships 101

As college costs continue to rise, many families are left wondering how to pay for it all without acquiring a mountain of debt. Fortunately, there is help available in the form of grants and scholarships. Get the scoop on these key forms of financial aid and learn how to make them work for you.


Finding Colleges That Fit Your Students: Tips for Counselors

For a counselor, getting a student in the right school is about the long game, one that begins with the first encounter and, ideally, plays out steadily throughout high school. It’s about engaging the parents and the student, learning the student’s strengths and weaknesses, abilities and interests; then, based on the academic record you help build, overseeing school selection and enrollment. The trickiest part of the admissions game is that the instructions must be customized for each individual when finding colleges that fit for your students.


What High School Classes Do Colleges Look for on Applications?

College admissions screeners focus on the types of classes applicants chose in high school. They also consider context, trajectory, and outcome. Did the student: A) Deliver a transcript signaling progression toward a goal and grades that show academic potential? B) Build a solid foundation of core courses? C) Take challenging courses? D) Take on academic challenges throughout high school? So, let’s unpack a four-part answer to a complex question: What high school classes do colleges look for on applications?


What College Students Wish They Knew When Applying to College

Applying to college is no easy task. There are tons of questions to answer about unfamiliar issues, and you quickly realize that you need more help than you thought. We talked to high school students about some of their biggest issues with the application process, and then we got some college seniors to answer several questions that arose about what college students wish they knew when applying to college.


How to Deal with Application Anxiety

The misery index level of the college admissions process is relative. Relative to how studious and organized you are. Relative to how much effort you put into the application process. Relative to your attention to detail and capacity to follow through consistently. Relative to the dependability of those who contribute to your application process. And relative to whether you know how to deal with application anxiety. 


What It Means to Be an Honors College Student

You took Advanced Placement classes in high school, have been in honors classes since middle school, and as a high school student have taken classes at a nearby community college. Congratulations, your rigorous education has positioned you to appreciate what it means to be an honors college student.


Why You Should Apply to Multiple Colleges

Applying to a single college, or just a few, means running a risk of being rejected by your target school and having to start the process from scratch with less time. That’s the short explanation for why you should apply to multiple colleges. The long explanation has several parts.


5 Best Fall Semester Weekend College Activities

The fall semester at college is an exciting time of year. College students are busy studying, attending classes, and getting involved on campus. With so much going on during the week, you might be wondering what there is to do on the weekend. Here are the 5 best fall semester weekend college activities to help you have fun, connect with friends, and engage with your school and community.


Top 5 Tips to Improve Sleep for College-Bound Students

Between last minute assignments, social engagements with friends, and perhaps working a part-time job, sleep can easily fall to the bottom of a student’s priority list. Even when things start piling up during your semester, it’s important to remember that small changes to your sleep routine can make a big difference – both in how you feel and your GPA. Here are our top 5 tips to improve sleep for college-bound students.


Types of Undergraduate Majors in College

When you were a child, people asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Here’s a grown-up version of that question, the one college students get: “Have you picked a major?” If your answer is no, you might be asking, “What are the types of undergraduate majors in college?”


How to Draft the College Essay

A 2016 National Association for College Admission Counseling study of freshman admissions factors ranked the college essay No. 5 in importance. The top four factors involved grades, test scores, and curriculum choices. When good grades and academic choices position you to cross the finish line with the real contenders in a race for limited space in that dream school, knowing how to draft the college essay can make you a winner.


Start College Applications with These Simple Tips

Let’s face it, the process to even start college applications can be intimidating and stressful. You need to gather documents, write about yourself, and complete what seems like a series of never-ending applications that grows longer with every page you complete. At the end of all your hard work, your only reward may be a cold “thanks but no thanks” letter. When you look at it all at once, it can paralyze you with fear and uncertainty.


Questions to Ask on a Campus Tour

Make those campus tours of your target colleges as beneficial as possible by doing the research necessary to answer these and other questions before you go. The knowledge you gather will help you craft a more relevant (to each school) list of questions to ask on a campus tour.


How Do You Become a National Merit Scholar?

This year, the roughly 7,500 applicants who are named National Merit Scholarship recipients will have waited about two years to see whether they would be chosen. It’s a long process begun annually by about 1.6 million contenders looking for the answer to a simple question: How do you become a National Merit Scholar?


Tips to Make the Most Out of a College Fair

If picking a college is on your to-do list, the item appearing right before it on that list should be “college fairs.” The fairs are great tools for building a target list or narrowing your choices. They may affirm or change your feelings for a dream school, unexpectedly lead you to the school of your dreams, or match you with one that’s a perfect fit. Regardless of where you are in the hunt, these tips to make the most out of a college fair can help.


Successfully Transition to College Life with These Tips

Few people face the beginning of college life without some degree of anxiety. That’s a given. After all, the experience is akin to staring at the deep end of the pool from the highest diving board you’ve ever seen. You know you can swim, but you’re afraid you’ll land the worst possible way. Take a deep breath and make the jump, because you can successfully transition to college life with these tips.


Important Tips College Counselors Need to Know

The average public school student-to-counselor ratio for the 2015-16 school year was 464-to-1. That’s nearly double the 250-to-1 ratio recommended as a ceiling by the American School Counselor Association, and each of those students needs personalized attention that typically spans years. College admission recruiters recognize the challenge counselors face, know what’s at stake, and have important tips college counselors need to know to save time and avoid missteps.


Types of Transportation at College

It’s another Monday at college. Your to-do list features three classes, a consultation with a professor, a four-hour shift at the children’s museum where you intern as a docent, intramural softball league practice, and a study group session at the library. So today you’ll have to be at six places on a campus the size of a small town and also at the museum, which is three miles from campus. It will be a busy but doable day because you made wise choices on the types of transportation at college that meet your needs.


How to Get Involved on a College Campus

Campuses are communities designed to embrace and nurture students as those students search for, explore, and make the most of their passions and strengths. The essence of that is ensuring there are countless opportunities for students to connect with the campus community. Consider what USF puts, quite literally, at the fingertips of students who are trying to decide how to get involved on a college campus.


Tips for Dealing with Homesickness

Starting college comes with some radical changes. You’re in a new environment surrounded by new people. Sure, you’ll get a rush of exhilaration at all the new faces and places, but the upheaval will likely take its toll on you. The good news is that there are simple and effective tips for dealing with homesickness.


How Academic Success Centers Help You Make the Grade in College

Studying is learning, and learning leads to success, which is why it’s so appropriate that USF calls its college study hub the Academic Success Center. It’s not just named well, it works – if you use it. Why people don’t use study centers or wait too long to use them is a study in human nature. This article is about academic excellence, so we’ll simply look at how Academic Success Centers help you make the grade in college.


What to Bring to College: Packing for Success

Starting college can be a daunting experience. You’ll find yourself juggling a whole new routine in a strange place surrounded by people you don’t know. The adjustment period can be particularly difficult if you’re living on campus, which presents its own set of challenges. That’s why it’s so important to get off to a good start by carefully planning those things you can control. And at the top of the list is what to bring to college. We teamed up with USF Housing & Residential Education to make your move-in day as easy as possible.


Help Your Students Prepare for College Early

When it comes to getting students thinking about college, counselors know that “better late than never” should be said with a deep sigh. Counselors know it takes time to build the academic record and log the life experiences that make the college admissions process easier and college years as productive as possible. As a college counseling pro, you know that it’s critical to help your students prepare for college early.


5 Tips for Parents with College-Bound Students

There’s a one-liner that has made the rounds on T-shirts and bumper stickers: You can’t scare me; I have children. Here’s a tweaked version that takes it to the next level of fearless: You can’t scare me; I have children bound for college. If you can relate to the truth behind that humor, you might appreciate these 5 tips for parents with college-bound students.  


The Importance of Sleep for College Students

College is a matter of dreams and the academic and career aspirations born of those dreams. Sleep problems can turn those dreams into nightmares, causing physical and emotional problems that spiral out of control and land GPAs and hopes of graduating in the trash bin. That’s why the importance of sleep for college students can’t be overstated.


Try These Easy Microwave Meals for College Students

College students need more time. In fact, college becomes a study in how to save time while getting things done. The answer, too often, is eating on the run. If you’re trying to get by on vending machine snacks and Red Bull gulped on the way to class, your health and grades are doomed. If you want to burn beneficial calories without burning too much time, try these easy microwave meals for college students.


Coping with the Stress of Going Away to College

Beginning college usually means heading off to unfamiliar territory to live among strangers while facing significant academic and social challenges – typically while still a teenager. So it would be unusual if people facing day one at college didn’t have issues with stress. The good news is that millions of people have done it, and their legacy is a mountain of information on coping with the stress of going away to college.


What Is Preeminence and Why It Matters to You

You may have heard that the University of South Florida was recently designated a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors. It’s a historic achievement over 10 years in the making, and it comes with millions of dollars in new funding that will benefit USF, its students, and the entire Tampa Bay region. What is preeminence, you ask? We'll give you the quick rundown and explain why preeminence matters to students, like you.


First-Generation College Student Guide

Nearly one-third of rising college freshmen are first-generation college students. The status should be a point of pride, but many students who hope to be the first in their immediate family to attend college don’t take credit for being trailblazers. They either don’t realize it’s a plus in the eyes of admissions officers or think it’s a mark of shame. To set the record straight, here’s our first-generation college student guide.


5 Back-to-School Tips for Senior Year Success

College-bound high school seniors should keep two things in mind. The coming months will define the coming years, and you will define the coming months. That’s a bit scary, but the jitters will fade once you take control. To that end, here are 5 back-to-school tips for senior year success.


Changes to Bright Futures Scholarships

Earlier this year, changes to Bright Futures Scholarships occurred when Senate Bill 4 (SB4) was signed in to law. This law ushered in a host of positive changes for Florida students, including an expanded Bright Futures scholarship program, assistance finding internships, and more. How will the SB4 law (also known as the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act) affect you? Here are just a few of the ways.


How to Earn College Credits in High School

With all the talk surrounding increased college costs and excessive student loan debt, it’s no surprise so many students are looking for ways to cut their degree expenses. One way you can decrease expenses is to get a head start on classes by earning college credits in high school. Discover how to earn college credits in high school with specific tests and programs that may be available to you. 


Going to College Tips from a College Student

College is one of the most rewarding and one of the most challenging parts of life. I remember my freshman year at USF as being very interesting because I learned a great amount of things that are very beneficial and changed me to be a better person. I’ve also experienced some hardships that are easily avoidable. I will share some of my tips on what to do and what not to do when it comes to going to college.


Valuable Life Skills Learned in College

Your higher education curriculum doesn’t end when you leave the class and shut the textbook. In fact, some of your most important life lessons come after the college lecture ends. Nobody will be looking over your shoulder to make sure you finish your homework, eat right, and get enough sleep. You’re on your own, and all your victories and defeats fall squarely on your shoulders. That can seem scary at first, but there are numerous valuable life skills learned in college that will prepare you for your transition to a career.


How to Find Your Passion and a Career You Love

In a perfect world, everyone would start college knowing what they would love to do for a living. Students would already have a plan to apply their interests to career challenges and curriculum choices. They’d intuitively know how to use college as a stepping stone to a career that makes them a productive individual, as well as financially and emotionally fulfilled.


What Are College Entrance Exams?

Chances are, you’re familiar with the most common college entrance exams, such as the SAT and ACT. What you may be less sure about is the real purpose behind these high-pressure, timed tests. Contrary to popular belief, most college entrance exams are not designed to test how well you absorbed your classroom lessons. Though some do, they’re mainly a supplement to another aptitude test. So, what are college entrance exams? Most of them are tests designed to predict your potential for performing well in a college classroom.


Snapchat and Instagram Etiquette 101

In today’s digital world, proper etiquette is much more than knowing which utensil to use or how to write a thank you note. How you conduct yourself online can be the difference between a fun, successful exchange and one that jeopardizes friendships or academic and professional opportunities. Here are some Snapchat and Instagram etiquette tips to keep your social media channels looking sharp.


How to Prepare for College During Summer

If you are a college-bound high school graduate, change is coming this fall that will have storylines involving friends, family, and new academic and geographic horizons. Adapting to this radical life transformation will haunt you less if you learn how to prepare for college during summer. This includes vital social, academic, relocation, and health tips that can make or break your freshman year experience.


5 Summer Tips for College Counselors

For high school college counselors, summer is a time to watch another wave of college-bound graduates roll out, a time to let the successes and failures of the past year inform you of how to handle the youngsters and parents who come for help throughout the next year, and, most importantly, a time to get positioned to shape and direct the next wave of graduates. These 5 summer tips for college counselors are shared with those goals in mind.


3 Ways to Learn College Study Habits Now

If you are still in high school, learning good study habits will pay huge dividends now, in college, and beyond. If you have finished high school and have the grades you need to get into college but never got the hang of studying, congratulations: You definitely are smart enough to graduate with honors, and it’s not too late to learn college study habits.


How to Finish the College Process

May and June bring high school caps and gowns. For college-bound high school seniors, spring and summer also bring important deadlines in the college enrollment process. So after years of careful course selection, of prepping for and taking standardized tests, and of extracurricular activities chosen and performed with an eye to college admissions, it’s time to finish the college process.


Why A College Education Is Important

Defining why a college education is important involves more than just identifying the superficial benefits of more career opportunities. At a deeper level, college is where you will map a path through life that can take you to places you never expected to go.


What's the Difference in On-Campus and Off-Campus Housing?

Next to choosing a major or concentration, picking housing is your weightiest decision. It affects physical and mental well-being, the wallet, and whether academic goals will be met. The answer to the housing question depends on the person, the college, and the community. That’s why knowing a college, the host community’s housing options, and the difference in on-campus and off-campus housing must be a factor in choosing schools.


FAFSA and Financial Aid Tips to Keep Your College Cost Down

As you begin your journey to college, figuring out how to pay for it will likely  be an important part of the conversation. You might not know where to begin when it comes to financial aid, but filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be one of your first steps. Here are some financial aid tips to help you successfully fill out your FAFSA and get the greatest amount of aid available.


Benefits of Pre-College for High School Students

Whether you’ve planned out your entire college career or you’re still struggling to even see yourself in a lecture hall, the benefits of pre-college for high school students should not be overlooked. These summer programs offer you the chance to explore and experience college life in person.


Is Starting at a Community College Right for You?

Community college can be your first, best, and final step in a post-secondary education, or it can be a lifesaving way to rescue a derailed plan to attend a dream college. Junior college serving as an academic lifesaver is a fairly common story, but there are also many no-drama reasons why starting at a community college might be right for you.


Summer Tips for High School Students Preparing for College

People who work their way through the mountain of tips on how high schoolers can use summers to prepare for college will see a pattern emerge. There are a lot of summer tips for high school students preparing for college. Typically, the experts focus on five areas: jobs and internships, volunteer work, well-chosen summer courses and programs, college admissions prep work, and extracurricular activities that identify, hone, and display personal skills and talents.


Denied Admission to College: What You Can Do

Whether you received a single “no” from your dream school or a string of denials from all your target colleges, remember that you’re not alone. Many students are in your shoes, so we put together some simple steps to follow after you’ve been denied admission to college.


College Campus Safety: What You Need to Know

Heading off to college means increased independence – no one will be looking over your shoulder, telling you how late you can stay out or making sure you eat your vegetables. It also comes with the responsibility to take college campus safety seriously.


Why Choose to Major in the Liberal Arts?

As you research different colleges, you’ll probably start learning about different college majors as well.  With so many majors available, you might feel overwhelmed. Whatever path you take, earning a college degree has three distinct benefits. A college degree provides you with technical knowledge, a rewarding social experience, and gives you durable life skills. Think about all of your options, and realize that there are many benefits of choosing to major in the liberal arts.


Last-Minute College Application Tips

If you’re unsure where you’re attending college at this stage, it’s probably for one of two reasons -- needing help wrapping up your applications or waiting until now to begin the college application process. Whatever camp you fall into, here’s some good news: we have some valuable, last-minute college application tips that can make a big difference in where and when you attend college.


5 Ways to Choose a College That Is Right for You

You’ve probably heard your friends say it. You may have even asked this question yourself: “How do I find the perfect college for me?” There are 4,000+ colleges and universities in the U.S. You’re going to “fit” at hundreds. It may be time to consider that it’s less about finding the perfect school and more about finding one where you will belong. Use the five tips below to help you choose a college that is right for you.


The Basics of Qualifying for Florida Residency

There are a lot of perks to being a Florida resident – year-round sunshine, gorgeous beaches and warm winters, to name a few. However, one of the most important perks for college-bound students is reduced tuition rates! Read on to learn more about the basics of qualifying for Florida residency and what is required to be considered a Florida resident for tuition purposes.


College Campus Resources: What You Can Expect

For many students, heading off to college can be both exhilarating and a little scary. You’ll be living on your own (probably for the first time in your life), meeting new friends, exploring new places, managing your own money, and learning to study without “parental supervision.” Fortunately, there are college campus resources that can help you stay on top of your game and adjust to life as an undergraduate. Here are just some of the services available on most college campuses:


How to Make Your LinkedIn Stand Out

If you’re wondering if you even need a LinkedIn profile right now - you do! You may be thinking, “I’m too young,” “Those are for college grads,” or “I don’t have a ‘real’ job yet.” Just because you haven’t graduated high school yet doesn’t mean it’s too soon to start building your online brand.


3 Ways College Counselors Help Students and Parents

Feeling stressed out by the college planning process? You’re not alone! Deciding which colleges to apply to, application deadlines, financial aid paperwork, waiting for decisions and choosing a college to attend are enough to make anyone a little tense. The good news is you have a valuable (free) resource available to help: your high school/college counselor.


Important PSAT Information You Need to Know

Although it’s technically true that the PSAT doesn’t directly influence your future college admissions decisions, there’s still some important PSAT information you need to know. With the scholarship and practice opportunities this test provides, it can play a big role in where you eventually end up.


Does the Last Semester of Your Senior Year Matter?

After submitting your college applications, the only obstacle left between high school and graduation is the spring semester. Preparing college applications is an overwhelming process – you take challenging coursework, study for the SAT and ACT and create a portfolio of essays. The feeling of burnout tempts many students to ride the pendulum swing from all work to all play, but you must understand the consequences before letting your studies slide. We’re here to answer the question, does the last semester of your senior year matter?


5 Tips to Use This Holiday Break to Make the College Process Easier

If you’re a high school senior, you may be at the stage of the college application process where staying very organized and planning way ahead can have an upside. Think lists and calendars. You need to be aware of what must be done and by when. With the holiday break just around the corner, you can get even more ahead of the game with these 5 tips for using holiday downtime to make the college process easier.


What to Consider When Choosing a College as a National Merit Scholar

If you’re reading this, you either are a National Merit Scholar (congratulations) or hope to be one. In all likelihood, you’re looking for a compass to help you map your path to and through college, and picking a school suited to the needs of a National Merit Scholar or an academically driven student is important. What should you consider when choosing a college as a National Merit Scholar? Let us help.


How to Use Winter Break to Help Your Students Prepare for College

College counselors stay busy throughout the school year. Often, counselors use winter break to help them complete important tasks to help their students prepare for college. However, all the planning and time it can take might leave counselors feeling overwhelmed and tired. Instead of working your fingers to the bones, check out our time-saving tips to use winter break to help your students prepare for college, so there’s still time for you to have some fun.


Top Factors to Consider When Choosing a College

If you’re like most high school seniors, you’ve likely spent the last few months bombarded by hundreds of brochures, emails, texts, and social media posts with a single message: “Come to XYZ College. It’s the BEST! And we can prove it with all these pictures of smiling students in XYZ College gear!”


Benefits of Starting College in the Summer

If you receive an admissions letter and see that you’ve been accepted to a college during the summer semester, don’t worry. For a variety of reasons, colleges may change your starting semester from fall to summer. Feeling confused and frustrated is normal, but it’s important to realize that there are many benefits of starting college in the summer.


The Scoop on Being a National Merit Scholar

Typically, during the fall of your junior year of high school, you’ll take the PSAT/NMSQT. PSAT stands for Preliminary SAT, and it helps you get familiar with the SAT format and time constraints. NMSQT stands for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which is used to identify potential National Merit Scholars. Here’s the scoop on being a National Merit Scholar.


How to Prepare for a Campus Tour

You’ve reviewed their official college website, looked through their brochures and followed their social media pages. Now you think you know what it’s like to be a student there, right? Not quite. Viewing a college through the lens of a website or brochure can give you an idea of what it is like to be there, but no words can describe it better than actually being there. Here are tips on how to prepare for a campus tour to keep you ahead of the game.


Tips for International Students Applying to Colleges in the United States

You’ve done your research, discussed it with your family and decided to study in the United States. Whether you’re interested in the variety of educational programs, broadening your global experience or the opportunity to conduct research as part of your studies, the first step is getting those applications in. Applying to colleges, especially outside of your home country, can feel like a big undertaking, so we’ve collected some tips for international students applying to colleges in the United States.


Take a Campus Tour from Home

Visiting colleges is an important part of the college admissions process. You want to make sure that the college you choose is the best fit for you and offers the resources you need to succeed. More and more colleges have started using virtual campus tours to make it easier for students and their families to check out potential schools. We know how busy life gets and how hard it can be to get away, so we’ve developed a special virtual tour of the USF campus for you. Now, you can meet some of our students and take a campus tour from home.


Do Colleges Look at Your Social Media?

Is it really true? Are your social media channels subject to review by the colleges you are applying to? Most people have some form of social media, such as Snapchat, Instagram and others. Social media is a powerful platform with a variety of uses such as keeping in touch with old friends, providing a form of entertainment, giving you a place to express your thoughts and opinions, and so much more. You can present your unique personality and interests to a variety of people and places on social media. That could include colleges, coaches, and other decision makers for future jobs and internships. So, “do colleges look at your social media?”


When Is the Right Time to Apply to College?

If you’re trying to decide when it is the right time to start applying to college, it’s best to remember that your application process really starts before you ever begin filling out those forms and submitting documents. This is a process that can take significant amounts of time and research. It starts when you first look at colleges and explore your options.


How to Apply to USF with These Easy Steps

Completing college applications can be a frustrating and confusing process, so we want to help make the USF application process as easy as possible. Whether you’ve started your application or not, you can follow these easy steps for how to apply to USF to streamline the process.


How to Find the Right College for You

Finding the right college for you is a big task, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. You’re unique and have your own goals for college and your future. Before you start your search for your college soulmate, you’ll need to decide what is most important to you. Think of the big three categories: academics, culture, and financial aid.


How to Prep for the SAT and ACT in 3 Easy Steps

During your junior and senior years of high school, you will take college admissions tests, such as the SAT and the ACT. Colleges use these test scores to help them make admissions decisions, so you will include them in your applications. As with any test, you want to prepare for it and do your best. Here are some tips for how to prep for the SAT and ACT.


Top 5 College Fair Tips

College fairs give you a great opportunity to learn about a wide variety of schools directly from school representatives, but you don’t want to stumble in unprepared. Use our top 5 college fair tips below to make the most of your day at these events.


How to Stay Motivated During the College Admissions Process

If you are embarking on the college admissions process, you may feel a mix of emotions. It’s normal to feel confused, overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. Sometimes, these feelings along with the college application process can cause students to procrastinate on finishing their applications and submitting them. To help you along the path, check out these simple tips on how to stay motivated during the college admissions process.


Understanding College Admissions Lingo

When you start the process of applying to colleges, you’ll come across many different college admissions terms. You will know what some of the terms mean, but you may not be familiar with all of them. At times, the college admissions process can feel overwhelming and confusing. However, understanding college admissions lingo is essential to making your admissions process as easy as possible.

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