Four tips to help you manage your time

All this month we’ve presented possible New Year’s resolutions. We finish the month with a post from Awesome Intern Alicia Hooks, who is back for another semester. Alicia addresses how to improve your time-management skills.

Have you shown up to class only to realize that it’s Tuesday, not Monday? Have you missed a meeting because you were “too busy”? Have you double booked yourself? Have you missed an assignment, simply because you didn’t know you had it? If so, you need to work on your time-management skills.

I’ve done just about all of the above. As a senior nearing graduation, I’ve learned over the years to keep track of my time through several simple methods. Some of these it took trial and error to realize which were best, others I’ve learned from advisors and friends.

Use the calendar on your phone

If your phone has a calendar, add the important dates to it. It’s very easy to write things down on a piece of paper, but paper gets thrown away. Put it in on your phone’s calendar with an alarm or two to remind you of the upcoming task.  Then when you get home, put it on a calendar or post your reminder on a door, refrigerator, mirror, etc., somewhere in your house that you look at regularly. 

Get a hard-copy calendar

If you don’t own a large desk calendar, no worries, you can go online to sites such as WinCalendar to print a free monthly calendar. In my binder, for example, I have monthly calendars printed out from now until April with all of my upcoming assignments and any events. I have found that color coding each entry works well if you have multiple assignments due on the same day from different classes.

Also I have a weekly break-down with each day starting at 8 a.m. that I found on Vertex42’s site. This one started out as a weekly calendar, but for my purposes, it’s set up as a general reminder of what I’m doing each day. Again, color coding is magic for organizing daily tasks.

Wear a watch

I know we’re in the technology age where everyone carries a cell phone, but watches are beneficial too. Professors across the board have banned cell phone usage in class. With a watch, you have a constant reminder of what time it is.

Get a daily planner

Some find it useful to carry around daily planners. The daily planner is essential for keeping track of when each assignment is due, plus it houses important phone numbers and email addresses. It is also another place to put those important dates that might end up on your phone’s calendar.

Those are a few easy methods of how I keep myself organized. Well, my time is up. Later!

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Stop stalking your college student online

We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Checked our son or daughter’s Facebook page to see if he or she changed the relationship status, posted any unsavory photos or announced his/her semester grades. According to an infographic in USA Today, 55 percent of parents use Facebook to keep an eye on their kids, and 11 percent joined Facebook just to snoop.

But, is it a good idea? Let’s face it you don’t want to do this: 

So, what can you do? How can you stay in touch without being overbearing? Mashable offers four tips:

  1. Talk to your son or daughter first.
    Set up some ground rules for your social media connection. One college student might be OK accepting his mom as a Facebook friend, another might be mortified.
  2. Respect his or her space.
    Be mindful of what is public and private in the social media space. If you’re concerned about something he or she has posted, send a message of text; don’t post anything on his or her wall that can be seen by hundreds of friends.
  3. Brand out from the usual platforms.
    Think beyond Facebook and Twitter to other tools to use. For example, Google + has features that enable you to have a casual video chat with your student. Also, keep in mind some colleges offer special online communities for parents.
  4.  Avoid over communicating.
    Just because you can communicate with your son or daughter 24/7 doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Remember, part of his or her growing up is being independent without your being right there. Resist that urge.

 Do you have any suggestions? If so, please share them.

You posted WHAT on Facebook? — Part II

Last week, we gave you five suggestions on how to use social media wisely so you don’t miss out on a job opportunity when you graduate.  Today, we include some of the 50 suggestions from CollegeTimes.

Do:

  • Earn respect by providing valuable content in a friendly way.
  • Be extra polite. You won’t make a snarky remark to someone you just met in person. You shouldn’t do it online either.  
  • Follow the golden rule by treating others as you would want to be treated.
  • Edit your photo choices so you don’t post photos of you or your friends engaging in illegal and irresponsible activities.
  • Show care when tagging friends in photos. Your friends may not want to be tagged in some of them.
  • Share your best work.
  •  Use a real photo so people know whom they’re connecting with.

Do not:

  • Cyber stalk. If you’re not getting responses back from wall posts and messages you leave on someone’s profile, then stop posting them.
  • Write private messages on wall posts. It can be embarrassing and rude.
  • Use automation tools. It’ll just make you look lazy and unengaged.
  • Ask to be retweeted. If your contact is good enough, people will share it without your asking them to.
  • Use exclamation points. They’ll just make your writing look juvenile.
  • Follow an employer’s personal account. You’ll look desperate and creepy. Instead, follow the official account instead.
  • Use text abbreviations in social media updates. You need to type out the whole word.

Have any do’s and don’ts you’d like to share? Please let us know.

You posted WHAT on Facebook? — Part I

We know you’re not going to give up using social media – that would just be crazy. But it would be a good idea to start using it wisely, if you haven’t yet, because there will come a time when you won’t want a future employer seeing all of those party pictures of you or reading all of your status updates that aren’t quite, well, you know what we mean.

Don’t think employers are looking? They are. A Harris Interactive study done last summer found that 45 percent of employers use social networks to screen job candidates, and a study done by Microsoft last December found that 79 percent did.

So, since we don’t want you to lose out on a great job once you graduate, here are five tips to enable you to use social media wisely from U.S. News & World Report:

  1. Create positive content.
    You want to create a good impression online. Post links to interesting stories in your intended field. Participate in debates and conversations when appropriate – just make sure to use suitable language.
  2. Don’t post questionable photos.
    More than half of those employers responding to the Harris Interactive study said inappropriate photos – drug- and drinking-related content – was the reason they turned down a job applicant.
  3. Google yourself.
    This will show you want a future employer might be seeing.
  4. Don’t post negative status updates or tweets.
    We know it’s not always easy to be positive. You may have bombed a test. Your roommate may be driving you crazy. You may have a really tough professor. But don’t let that come out in your updates. It just doesn’t make you look good.
  5. Don’t make your online presence all about you.
    People don’t really care what you had for lunch or where you were at 9 in the morning. They really don’t. Instead, share relevant articles and videos. Make valuable comments. Retweet interesting information from people you follow. If you don’t have anything to add in the social media space, people will ignore you.

Next week we’ll have more suggestions. Stay tuned.

Wanna save money in college?

Thinking about resolving to save more money this year? It may sound hard, but it can be done. In fact, there are many things you can do to keep a little bit more coin in your pocket.

The Student Advisor blog offers six easy ways you can save money:

1. Buy in bulk.

You’ll save money and you may even get a discount by using your student ID. 

2. Use your student discount.
Many businesses in college towns offer students a discount. Find out where those places are and take advantage of those discounts.

3. Watch what you drink and we don’t mean beer.

Buying coffee at a coffee shop can get expensive. Invest in a coffee maker. The cost for bottled water can also add up. Instead, buy a water filter for your fridge and get a reusable water bottle. You’ll save money and send fewer plastic bottles to the landfill.

4. Visit your local dollar store.
You’ll find a lot of what you need at the dollar store, and it won’t cost you more than – you guessed it – a dollar. While some stores with “dollar” in the name may charge more than a buck, you’ll still find what you need at a lower price than other stores.

5. Use coupons. 

Keep a look-out for coupons and use them. Also, if you provide your email to some stores, they’ll send you discounts, which are a big help.

6. Split the costs with your roommate.
You can save money if you both do your laundry together, car pool, share supplies.

Need more? There’s so much more.  

College Scholarships.org  offers 118 (we don’t know why it’s 118 and not 100 or 120) ways to save money in college. The suggestions range from using the meal plan you paid for to renting DVDs as a group.

Surviving College offers 50 more suggestions (we like 50 – it’s a nice round number) like don’t shop when you’re hungry because you’ll buy more and take the bus when you can because gas is pretty expensive.

If you have any ideas we can pass along just let us know.

Three hints for filling out college applications

You have a stack of admissions applications you haven’t filled out yet, don’t you? Well, you know they’re not going to fill themselves out, so why not resolve to take care of them now?

Our admissions director, Alex Nazemetz, has some suggestions on filling out your applications. Alex suggests you:

Take enough time to fill it out correctly.

This may be the first impression you make on an admissions counselor, so you want to be sure you make a good one. Focus on what you’re doing, so turn off the TV, log off your computer, turn off your phone. Don’t leave out any information or skip questions. Read and follow the directions carefully.

Don’t embellish.  
An admissions counselor will be able to tell if you’ve exaggerated some of your accomplishments. Remember when your parents said honesty is the best policy? That applies to admissions applications as well. Be honest about what you’ve done, what you haven’t done, and what you want to do once you get to college.

Apply early.
Applying early has benefits. The earlier you apply, the more opportunities you may have for financial benefits. For example, some scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, when making housing assignments, many colleges give priority to those who have applied by the deadline.

 Want to read more? Alex also offers some other insightful information in a Q and A with the college search site Cappex.

Have you already filled out your apps? Got any suggestions to share?

Are you resolving to drink less?

If you’ve been following along, you know all this month we’re discussing New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you’ve resolved to drink less this year. (Now, we’re not making any judgments. We’re happy that you’re considering this resolution.)

According to the Wall Street Journal, alcohol-free college activities are on the rise. About 100 colleges and universities are now sponsoring and promoting activities for students who want to have fun without alcohol, including ours.

The Student Advisor blog  has some suggestions on how you can have fun without drinking:

Free is fine
Don’t think an event is lame if it’s free. There are lots of fun events to try that don’t have a cover charge.

Try something out of the ordinary
Try something different. Visit a museum. Go to a park.

Check out the local sites
We know you haven’t seen everything there is to see where you are. Get out there and check out the local scene.

For more ideas on the fun you can have without booze, you can sign up for the free weekly e-newsletter at hammered.org, like them on Facebook  or follow them on Twitter.

You can also watch some pretty funny videos, including this one. Ever think not drinking would blow someone’s mind? I just might:

Think not drinking may blow people’s minds? It just might:

As always, if you have suggestions on fun and dry activities just let us know.