Leigh Perkins

Leigh Perkins

Freelance marketing writer Leigh Brown Perkins firmly believes that building new skills and chasing new ideas should be a lifelong quest for all of us.

More from Leigh Perkins

Should You Still Plan to Take the SAT or ACT?

Since the COVID-19 shutdowns, more than half of the 3,300+ four-year colleges and universities in the United States announced they would not require applicants to submit standardized test scores, and 85% of the top 100 liberal arts colleges have gone test-optional. It’s not clear if schools will make the test-optional change permanent, but if you’re a high school student, the only thing you want to know is this: Should you still plan to take the SAT or ACT, and will your choice help or hurt your chances of getting into college?

Gifts for College-Bound Students

Leaving home for college is such a big deal. It calls for a useful but unique gift, a send-off that shows your student that you really get who they are. If you’re just not sure how to say congratulations, check out our gifts for college-bound students, a curated list of uncommonly thoughtful presents for every style of student.

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.  

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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’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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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