Monthly Archives: July 2015

Trust

Do you have trust issues? Many people do. We each could probably make a long list of reasons we have issues trusting others, whether the ‘other’ is a person or a business. In the end, if you analyzed your reasons for a lack of trust, more than likely it will come to having been let down by someone when something important was transpiring.

Over the past few weeks, I have been talking on the phone, corresponding over email, and meeting students and parents face to face, who are not trusting the information I am giving them. I understand times of hesitation, and I understand the need to ask a lot of questions, but I do not understand resistance to well designed programs which have been thoroughly explained on how they benefit a first year student’s well-being. The case which keeps coming up for me is, the handful of students who want to be part of our Honors program, but do not want to live in the Honors residence hall (dorm).

All these resistant students are: 1) going to live on campus, 2) with a bunch of strangers, 3) in a building they have never lived in before, 4) and most of them, with a person they have never met in person! Why do they not want to live in the resident hall designated to the Honors program? I repeatedly explain they are not competing against their roommate, the person next door, or the person upstairs – college is not high school, there is NOT one best student. As a high achieving student, why not live with other academically minded, motivated students? Honors students are social; I hear they even party! They ARE regular first year students! They are you, you ARE one of them.

I think it may be challenging for some students to realize that college is a new identity; I understand this. In asking these students to trust me, I try to put into perspective the reality that they are leaving (the) high school (drama) behind and get to be the person they want to be. However, coming to a very large university is a bit scary, so why not start it by living in a supportive community?! I know I have an adult perspective on this – an adult perspective having worked with students for more than 15 years. Please, please, trust me!

Thank you, to the 160+ students, who have gladly and enthusiastically, set their housing preference to live in the Honors residence hall! And for the handful who have been resistant, thank you for another blog topic!

Are you applying to scholarships?!

How is summer treating you?  Are you gearing up for going to college in the fall?  Have you been doing a part time job?  Saving some money for books, a computer, parking pass, or coffee during fall semester?  Do not forget to apply for scholarships!  Every year, thousands of dollars go unawarded/unused because not enough people apply for monies that are ‘out there’ waiting to be awarded.

Remember:

1.  Check your local county scholarship opportunities.  Often, your local county or city will have scholarships that are awarded for various reasons, not just grades or merit.  Your local library can be a great resource in helping you find these scholarships.  Also check local Rotary and/or Lions clubs, as they often fund education.

2.  Know your scholarship deadlines.  Check out these two different sources for scholarship information:  the first one gives examples of scholarship deadlines coming up in August.  The second one gives great hints about what to keep in mind when applying for scholarships; it also lists some ones to apply to.

3.  Finally, check out these scholarships with fast approaching deadlines.  Be sure to look at the one titled “Wholesale Halloween Costumes” – you could be the next recipient!

Be sure to read the rules of the scholarships carefully; abide by the rules (that is half of the battle, trust me); use your best essay skills (have a friend read what you write); and apply, apply, apply.  Good luck!

Which institutions should you consider attending?

This is a shout out to all you sophomores and juniors who are tagging along with older siblings as they attend orientations in nearby or far flung places.  Are you intrigued with the process you are witnessing?  Are you already thinking about where you will apply and maybe attend in one or two years?  This is a great chance to learn from your older friends/siblings and start the process on your own!

As our book points out, you need to think about your COLLEGE EXPERIENCE PRIORITIES.  What kind of college do you want to attend?  What kind of college experiences do you seek?  College is an experience — and you need to make the most of the process, not just the final result (which we hope will be a degree).

Parents are often most concerned about the financial consequences of your choice.  But we say to parents:  do not only consider price tags and fees.

Students are often not sure just what exactly to be concerned about, so they adopt their parents’ concern:  financial, institutional prestige (vs academic prestige), and location.

To really begin to consider where to attend and what kind of schools to even gather information on, we offer the ‘self inventory worksheet’ — it is available for free on our website under “worksheets.”  Check it out!  The first item might be the hardest:  “My reasons to go to college include . . . “.  Really think about this.  Why do you want to go to college?  Other items of inquiry include “My goals are . . . ” and “Activities I want to be part of while in college are . . .”.  These are great places to start your considerations regarding college.

Next week I’ll post more about things to consider as you watch your friends and siblings go through orientation . . .things that will help you when it’s your turn.  And that is just around the corner!

Who Will You Be at Orientation?

At many institutions of higher education summer orientation is in full swing. Transfer students and new first year students are roaming around campus wondering if they are near their destination, how they will ever figure out all these buildings and classrooms, and are anxiously anticipating if they might meet the student who will be their roommate or new best friend!

Yesterday, I started training student leaders for a pre-orientation special event we host for students and their guests in our program. One part of the training included brainstorming the types of students we are going to meet at these events. The list includes:
* anxious and fearful
* shy and uncomfortable
* overwhelmed and stressed
* know-it-all’s who are too cool for this
and a few other adjectives.

Then we brainstormed how they, individually as as student leaders, and we, as a team, will manage the emotions these students and guests (i.e. parents) share with us. We recognize these are emotions you are facing going into this event, those adjectives might not describe you in “regular” life.

Students, and family member(s), as you prepare for orientation, think about how you want to present yourself. Are you going to be the ‘know-it-all’ who has two siblings who already graduated from here, and you don’t understand why you need to attend orientation since you already know everything, and already have a course schedule prepared? Are you going to be so antsy from spending the past five hours in the car on the drive to the campus, that you can’t sit still and be respectful to the presenters? Are you going to be so overwhelmed that each time someone asks you a question, you say ‘I don’t know, this is all new to me.’ and not attempt to listen attentively enough to make your own, informed decision?

We recommend you go into orientation with an open mind and listening ears. Please don’t be pompous and demeaning to the student leaders and professional staff. Please don’t be frustrated and angry toward the people who don’t have your transcript. (FYI: you sent your transcript and exam scores to the Admissions office, not directly to your orientation leader!) Be friendly to new students. Ask them why they chose to apply here, and what made them say “yes” to this school, and which residence hall or apartment, they are planning to live in, and have they decided on a major and why they are choosing it? These interactions will make your orientation experience a positive one. Most importantly, have fun!!