Send your student to College with a Resume

WHY THEY NEED A RESUME:

If your student will be job hunting while in college, they’ll want to have a resume on file. Even if they have no work experience – they need to professionally present themselves somehow. They can always write about high school activities and babysitting if they have to. Even if your student will not be working during school, eventually they’ll want an internship or they will need to attend career fairs on campus. So, being prepared with a resume on hand is very helpful.

My daughter started college during summer semester. Towards the end of summer she applied for a job that would start in the fall. She got the job, and knew when she returned for fall semester it would be waiting for her. My point being, she took the time to find the school’s online job board in advance. She beat the rush!

FORMATTING THE RESUME + Research:

I polled many of my professional friends about resumes. Everyone agreed that no matter what the field, you still want a basic resume formatted simply. Not only will this make the resume easy for the interviewer to skim, but it also allows HR to scan your resume into a database using software specially designed to look for resume key fields.

Many word processing software programs have built-in resume templates to use. We decided to save hers on Google Drive so we both had access to editing or sharing it. She also left for college with a dozen printed copies in a folder on nice paper.

Next, do a little research about a specific job or the company you may work for if you have one in mind. Remember to put the most valuable information first on the resume in case someone only glances at it for 7 seconds. If you have no work experience, this might be your personal statement at the top, paraphrasing exactly what this specific job entails so you sound perfect for the corporate culture. It might be your high school GPA and if you were President of the Honors Club or something like that. But if you have related work experience – then it’s certainly your related work experience! In fact, if you have enough experience working or interning in your desired field, you can probably leave high school off your resume all together (the thought!)

My daughter’s boyfriend is a finance major. Before he applied for an internship, we looked at his boring resume together. He had one job in high school – the same one every summer. On paper, he didn’t seem very marketable, but he had found his dream internship and really wanted to put his best foot forward. We Googled resumes for his field, and actually found a university that had sample resumes online that had worked for their finance-major students. What a great find! His 2 little paragraphs were fleshed out quite easily after that! He added a personal statement, related coursework, the fact that he had a leadership role in the business college… and he has an endearing personality, so he interviews well.

My daughter also learned from a big name company while at a college career fair, that many interviewers want to see a college GPA on a resume.

TEST-DRIVE:

DD1 went to her first career fair as a Freshman, even though she knew companies were mainly looking for juniors and seniors. She wanted to get a feel for the room and how people were dressed before it mattered. It was like a test-drive with no pressure at all. If a table seemed slow, she could ask questions, but otherwise she kind of hovered and soaked it in. Afterwards, she called me and said she wanted to add her GPA to her resume and get a blue suit after sophomore year. Apparently career fairs at her school are “business formal” attire. After her test-drive, she didn’t even think black slacks and a blouse were dressy enough.

KEEP IT UPDATED:

My daughter updates her resume with new job, internship and club information while it happens. Little by little, the minor jobs she had in high school (birthday party princess, camp counselor…) have come off her resume and her resume now makes her sound both professional and involved on campus.

PROFESSIONAL HELP:

Many colleges offer a shorter, perhaps 1-credit course on putting together a resume and getting through the interview process. Your student might need to brush up on making eye contact, how to talk about their own strengths and weaknesses, hand shaking, etc. I took a class like this in college, and we even gave each other mock interviews on video so we could learn from watching ourselves on screen.

TEACH PROPER FOLLOW UP:

OK, here it comes – the THANK YOU NOTE! Students should follow up an interview with an honest-to-goodness, hand-written thank you note on real paper – the same day as the interview. I helped my daughter’s friend get an internship interview in high school, and as we left I told him this in the car. He looked very skeptical, and asked if it could be an email. I said, “You can send an email, but you STILL need to send a hand-written thank you note, and if you don’t believe me, ask your dad.” This is proper interview etiquette, I’m not alone in this. An email is great for someone you had a nice conversation with at a career fair, however. That’s why you hold on to business cards. When my daughter was in high school she emailed reps she liked after college fairs and tours as well.

I’m not an expert on this stuff. You can probably Google advice from Forbes. But we’re living through it, and this is the advice I have to share. Good luck!

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College Roommate Tips

naked roommateLast year, Bob Andelman (aka Mr. Media, and a friend) interviewed Harlan Cohen, of “Help Me Harlan” and author of The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only (which I’ve read and recommend), about parenting teens leaving for college. I took notes because my daughter’s boyfriend was a graduating senior, and my daughters were a junior and sophomore, so I figured I had some relevant lessons to learn.

There was a lot I enjoyed about the interview, found here: http://mrmedia.com/2014/08/help-me-harlan-kid-going-to-college-fall-video/. Today I share with you, paraphrased…

3 Roommate Rules:

1. Your roommate is there to share the fees and does not need to be your friend. I had this problem with my first college roommate. I got there, we bonded, then I made other friends and she felt left out and retaliated in rude ways. I wasn’t wearing a promise ring from her, I just wanted to get along… which brings us to…

2. If you want to get along with your roommate, you’ll find a way. Seriously, all you need to do is be respectful. You can avoid drama even if you don’t like each other. But sharing space is always more comfortable if you do like each other!

3. The Uncomf0rtable Rule: If you are ever uncomfortable with something that happened with your roommate, you must communicate about it in 24-48 hours. Not before, not after. Make this a pact with your roommate so you BOTH do it. People suck at uncomfortable, but if there is a plan in place it helps.

One parent asked about a very sexual roommate living with her religious, virgin teen, and how that might play out. Remember, says Harlan, living with someone who has different values probably won’t change you. You won’t start having threesomes five times a day because of a sexually active roommate if you are saving yourself for marriage. You won’t become a huge partier after watching your roommate throw up from drinking too much and failing math class. In fact, it might make you second guess their poor choices. You’ll learn and grow from it, like a visit to a foreign country. I discovered the band “The Cure” from my roommate even though she ended up being a butthead.

My daughter found two roommate leads before freshman in year in different ways. One was through a cousin who had a friend with a daughter interested in the same school. The other was through a Facebook group her college made for her graduating class, like “College Name Class of 2019.” People left little notes about themselves and their personalities, and could message others who sounded compatible. “I’m a science major who plans to rush Ate Two Pizzas sorority and I like loud techno music. I’m a night owl who eats peanut butter out of the jar, and I will totally help you with your hair – I’m really good with braiding and products.”

Good luck to whoever lives with DD1! She’s a mess! But she’s honest and fun, which will probably matter more.

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Ultimate College Packing List

packinglistfeaturedAfter scouring the internet (mostly Pinterest) and getting advice from college freshmen boys and girls as well as a recent college GRAD, I present my Ultimate College Packing List!

Please keep in mind, tastes on food certainly differ, and boys and girls don’t need all of the same items (e.g. tampons!), but this is a robust list that will help you get ‘er done!

Parents, maybe shopping can take your mind off the whole LEAVING part…

[Printable Version-PDF]

Bed

  • Bed Sheets (usually Twin XL for dorm beds)
  • Blankets/Comforter
  • Mattress Pad
  • Pillows (at least one extra for when people crash at your pad)
  • Pillowcases
  • Sleeping Bag
  • legraisersUnder Bed Storage – check these out: bed leg raisers with USB and outlet chargers built right in! Helps make more room for storage while letting you charge your gear on or under your bed. Target has them too.

Desk

  • Agenda/Calendar – at the very least a digital one, but writing helps to remember!
  • Desk Lamp
  • Paper Clips
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Post-It Notes
  • Postage Stamps and Envelopes
  • Rubber Bands
  • Ruler
  • A small safe or lockbox (for meds, money, laptop, video games, ipod…)
  • Scissors
  • Staple Remover
  • Stapler & Staples
  • Three-hole punch
  • Wastebasket
  • White-out
  • A package of simple, professional Thank You notes

Tech Related

  • Cell Phone & Charger
  • Computer with software, iPad
  • Cables, Chargers, Power Strip, Extension Cords, etc.
  • DVDs
  • CLIPFANFan (clip on?)
  • Flash Drive
  • Flashlight, batteries
  • Google Drive Account
  • Headphones
  • Keyboard
  • Light Bulbs (rarely)
  • Mouse
  • MP3 Player
  • Printer with ink and paper
  • Surge Protector
  • Speakers
  • TV
  • Video Game console
  • Some students take a small lock box or a locking cable for their tech. If your roommate fails to lock the room, or someone breaks in, or you make new friends who are a little sketchy – you can lock up valuables while keeping them in your room.

Room

  • Alarm Clock (be careful if you rely on your phone, because you may be up late and the battery will die!)
  • Command Hooks
  • Duct Tape
  • Games
  • Earplugs, Eyemask
  • Instrument & accessories, if you play one
  • Posters / Photos
  • Safety Pins
  • Safety Whistle
  • Sewing Kit
  • Sleep Mask
  • Sports Equip.
  • Sunglasses
  • Umbrella

Classroom

  • Backpack
  • Calculator / Graphing Calculator
  • Dividers
  • Erasers
  • Row of color office foldersFolders, Binders
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Notebooks, Notepaper, Graph paper
  • Textbooks
  • Large schools may require you to buy a clicker for students to answer questions and take attendance in large lecture halls

Clothing

  • Belts
  • Dress Clothes
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Jackets (coats, rain jacket, fleece)
  • Jeans
  • Jewelry
  • pjsPajamas
  • Pants
  • Purses
  • Scarves
  • Shoes, Boots, Flip Flops
  • Socks, stockings, tights
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Sweaters, Sweatshirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Underwear, bras
  • Watch
  • Workout Clothes

Laundry

  • App (some school have an app to download to track when your laundry is ready for the dryer. If your school doesn’t have one, set an alarm on your phone for :45 minutes.)
love these for better smells!

love these for better smells!

  • Detergent + yummy scented beads
  • Collapsable drying rack or this great IKEA tool
  • Fabric Softener, if you use it
  • Hamper
  • Hangers
  • Iron & Pad (Ha! Yah right)
  • Quarters, if the machines need them
  • Stain Remover
  • My daughter has a separate, zip-up lingerie bag so favorite bras or bikini-top strings don’t get caught on the washer drum.

Food

Of course everyone has their own favorites, but here are some staples for many college students:

  • Bagels, Bread
  • Cereal
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Coffee, Tea
  • Condiments
  • Crackers
  • Fruit
  • Granola bars
  • Ketchup
  • Mints
  • cookiebnutterNut Butter & Jelly
  • Pasta
  • Pepper
  • Popcorn
  • Salt
  • Soup
  • Veggies

Kitchen Supplies

  • Bowls
  • Can/Bottle Opener
  • Chip Clips
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cups
  • Microwave
  • Microwavable mug/plate
  • Minifridge
  • Paper Towels
  • scizzaPizza Cutter
  • Plates
  • Plastic food containers
  • Sponges
  • Sports Bottles
  • Towels
  • Utensils
  • Ziplock bags

Bathroom

  • towelsBath Towels & Mat
  • Bathrobe
  • Bobby Pins
  • Contact Lens gear
  • Cosmetics
  • Cotton Balls, Q-Tips, Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Eye Glasses
  • Face wash
  • Feminine Care
  • Hairbrush / comb
  • Hairspray / products
  • Hair Appliances: Hair Dryer, Curling Iron, Flat Iron, etc.
  • Hand Lotion
  • Lip Balm with SPF (boys too!)
  • Mirror
  • Nail Clippers, file, nail polish, remover
  • Razor, shave gel
  • Shampoo / Conditioner
  • Shower Caddy
  • Shower flip flops
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen
  • Toiletry Kit
  • Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Mouthwash, Floss
  • Tweezers
  • Washcloths
  • My daughter’s suite had a shower that had a plastic liner already hung for them, but they added a pretty shower curtain. The school provided toilet paper.

Medicinal

  • Acne wash, cream
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Band-Aids
  • Birth Control, Condoms
  • Bug Repellent
  • Cough Drops
  • Decongestant
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hot / Cold Packs
  • Pain Reliever
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Thermometer (digital)

Important Docs

  • Bank Info, Checks, Cash Card (You might want to see which bank has an ATM on campus before opening your account)
  • Car Registration (if driving on campus)
  • Drivers License
  • Financial Aid Forms
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Renters Insurance – I called my insurance and they made it sound like a chore to search my policy about dorm rooms specifically, but once they did we found out exactly what was covered for a student on my plan in a dorm room! Very helpful.
  • Resumes – printed on nice paper & saved digitally. [Learn more here.]
  • Social Security Card
  • Student ID, holder
  • Do you get extra time for test taking? Bring a copy of the paperwork supporting your need.

For athletes

  • sm_grid_foam_matrix1Compression socks
  • Foam Roller
  • GPS watch/tool & charger
  • Gym Bag
  • Nuun and a few sports bottles to stay hydrated
  • Specialty Equipment
  • Yoga Mat and carrier

[Printable Version-PDF]

If you have something to add to my list, please leave a comment and let me know! I’ll keep this updated.

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College Tour Done Right

collegetourIf you are the parent of a high school junior or senior, you may start to receive invitations to special informational events on college campuses. Perhaps your child is vying for a scholarship, a spot in a prestigious honors program, or they just want to get to know a potential school better.

Although you can attend local seminars in high schools, in hotel conference rooms on random evenings, or at college fairs, you learn more by attending events on a campus if you can make it there.

alicenhsRecently my daughter was invited to one event that was wrapped up with such a nice scholarship offer that we decided to fly out of state to attend. We figured she could get questions answered, get a feel for the campus, understand how to travel there from home with me by her side the first time – and possibly end up with a free college education. Good ROI.

I contacted the university about 6 weeks before the event. College counselors will often tell your child to contact schools on their own, but I had something up my sleeve this time. Instead of contacting the local area rep, like my daughter would do, I contacted the Honors department of the school who was offering the prestigious scholarship. They were kind of recruiting my daughter, letting her know all the great things she could accomplish in their program. I wanted them to know all the great reasons why they wanted my daughter on their list for sure.

I called the right contact, let her know we’re scheduled for the event on campus, and that it would be our first time in the area. Then I asked if we could come a day early so my daughter could spend the day before the event seeing what it would be like to be a student on their campus. I told them that she has friends in college, but when they come home they don’t chat about classes, they chat about sororities, football games and parties. My daughter makes a point of studying and getting good grades, and she wants to know that other students around her will be doing the same thing. (Not everyone gets drunk every weekend at college. I know because I didn’t. I went out and had fun, I went to bars, and parties, and comedy clubs. Sometimes I even had a drink, but I never got wasted. I never threw up or passed out. And I was able to keep my place on the Dean’s List. My husband wasn’t a big partier, and neither is my daughter’s boyfriend.)

The woman at the college was VERY receptive. She sounded thrilled over the phone. She asked me to email a list of what DD1 was interested in and exactly when we would be there.

There was some passing back and forth of duties in her office, and I had to follow up a couple of times and resend an email once, but a couple days before our flight out I was emailed an itinerary and it was just what we wanted.

While at this school my daughter spent Friday:

  • seeing the Honors College office
  • learning about the special program they were inviting her to apply for
  • meeting with a professor in her intended major department
  • going on a campus tour – which I did with her
  • having lunch with a friendly Honors student (on their dime) in one of their dining halls, who invited her to a genetics class
  • seeing the digital media center because I told them my daughter was editor of the school newspaper (turns out journalism was not in the same place, but it was a cool tour and she got to see behind the scenes of where they broadcast football games)
  • taking an Honors Bio class with a teacher who DD1 thought was both brilliant and hysterical
  • meeting the bowling club
  • meeting an advisor in her major department
  • having dinner with a sorority girl to learn about Greek life on campus (friend of a friend)
  • learning where the Honors college would be taking her out of the country for special projects.

Everything was prearranged and they gave her a schedule with who to see when, and what their phone number was, along with a highlighted campus map.

On the 2nd day we were together the whole time for the event that about 600 other people came in town for. We learned about residence halls, financial stuff, had a mock Honors Seminar class, had lunch in a different dining hall, heard a panel of engineering professors, and she spoke with the professor who would probably run the research she’d get to be a part of in 10 months.

So she had a day that was completely personalized – and got to feel like a college kid behind the scenes without mom. Then she had a day with mom acting like a tourist and getting a sales pitch. After both days she was completely exhausted. Not only is she often an introvert, she felt like everyone she spoke to was kind of interviewing her, so she was trying to be her best self constantly. But if we had only had that 2nd sales pitch day, we would have just scratched the surface. The extra day really let my daughter see beneath the veneer.

That’s all I can say for now. Perhaps when she has made a final decision I can share with you how we came to that decision. It will probably be another 6 weeks before that happens. Applying to college these days has a lot more steps then when I went through the process! My daughter spent about 4 months writing essays for colleges, scholarships and special programs within those colleges. Hopefully her decision will be the best one for her!

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Standardized College Entrance Tests

If you are the parent of a junior or senior in high school, encourage your child to take practice tests before their standardized tests. You can get a book full of them. Is it worth the $25?? Well… if your student gets one more scholarship because of one better test score, it will pay for itself. Be sure to buy the most recent version, because the way these tests are handled keeps getting altered. For 2 months leading up to each test, I ask my kids to take a practice test every 2 weeks.

You can also sign up on both the ACT and SAT website for practice questions. See SAT Question of the Day.

My daughter took the SAT and ACT. She did significantly better on the ACT, so she focused on bringing that score up. She did practice tests and could see where she was lacking. On her first real ACT she got a 30 (out of 36). Then she got a 30. Then she got a 30. She begged me to take it “just one more time” because she thought a 31 would really make a big difference with college entrances. She took the 4th one and came home exhausted. She didn’t save any energy for the essay – no one really seems to care about your essay score anyway – she just focused so hard on that damn test. She got a 33!

Some schools accept an SAT or ACT superscore. This is when they look at all of your tests and pull your highest math, your highest reading comprehension, etc, to make your best test score possible from a variety of tests. Her ACT superscore was a 34!

(Not every college superscores, and some will take SAT but not ACT or vice versa… that’s why it’s a good idea to have a list of schools in mind early.)

When my daughter’s test score took a jump, she was suddenly on the mail list for Princeton and Brandeis. It only took one test score for her to be considered a different type of student, the type of conscientious, hard working, brainiac student we knew she was all along. Because she was honest about our financial situation on her test (they usually ask if you’ll be applying for financial aid, not your household income), she got a letter from Princeton telling her step by step what to do by what date in order to get their top scholarships. (Obviously her grades and letters of recommendation would matter too, but it was a reminder that many big name schools aren’t necessarily out of reach if you are smart with low funds, because they have the backing to give big scholarships.)

She is also working her butt off even during senior year. She stresses less, but her grades are even higher – so getting into college honors programs may be easier. She wishes she could rewind and work harder FRESHMAN year. Many colleges base your entrance on your 9th-11th grade GPA, and don’t look much at senior year, so it is actually more important to maintain a high GPA earlier on.

Another early tip – the PSAT is taken junior year. This is the test score that determines a lot of scholarships like National Achievement and National Merit Scholars. Start practice SATs before the PSAT for more great opportunities! Good luck!

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