Thursday, August 21, 2014

TBT: What to expect your first week of college

The video below is a throwback from last year; it answers some of the most popular questions I receive about the first week of college, and shares some tips to ensure you ROCK your first week. Good luck!! :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to stop procrastination BEFORE it starts

Do you procrastinate on fixing your procrastination?


The WORST mistake you can make in college is not developing a plan to stop your procrastination before the semester starts. 

One of my most popular posts ever features 10 ways to stop procrastination, and I wanted to add another way you can stop it - BEFORE the semester starts.

(If you're reading this after a semester has started it's okay, this can still help.) 

Not only will this help you not procrastinate, but it can also help you improve your grades IMMENSELY. 

I've developed this really simple time management chart for you that you can download and do in a few minutes RIGHT now (see links below). 

I know you want to procrastinate this right? You're already opening a new window and thinking "well, Isa, that sounds good and all, but I'll do it tomorrow, right now I need to catch up on my Twitter feed"). 

Hold it right there. You can do this right now. I believe in you!! Tell that procrastinator in your brain to be quiet and keep scrolling.

I can't take all the credit for this idea as I got the inspiration for it in a book I was reading this morning about teaching a college course. I added my own spin to it and I hope it helps. 

Doing this chart will help you plan to have plenty of time to do homework, readings, and study for each course AND enough time to get ahead and put in the time and effort required to get an A in any class.

I spent at least two hours in the library for every course each week and it enabled me to get straight-A's throughout college without stress or procrastination. I also almost never did homework on the weekends, which may not work for everyone, but I loved devoting Monday-Friday to school and then the weekends to pure fun. 

If you put the time and effort into building your schedule the way you want it (and make the necessary sacrifices to make your classes and the work required of them a priority, even over work) you can get the grades you know you're capable of and actually enjoy the learning process. 

You may feel like you need the last-minute pressure to do your work, but once you experience the thrill of doing something EARLY you may just find that can motivate you even more.

Click on one of the links below to download the chart to help you build your schedule and find the time you need to reach your full potential in college. I've made the documents available on Dropbox for you and the links are below.

It looks like this:
 I challenge you to do this right now. Go. Come on. You can conquer procrastination once and for all. 

Your GPA will thank you. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

10 supplies you should have for the first week of college

I've been getting a lot of emails and comments asking about college supplies, so here you go!


1. Pens

2. Pencils

3. Loose leaf paper

4. Colored 3-prong folder for each class (or binder with dividers...or some kind of organizational system that works for you; I preferred a different colored folder for each class, labeled, with loose leaf paper; I'd put the syllabus in the 3-prongs on the first day of class)

5. Calculator (unless for some reason your courses that semester are devoid of any math or science)

6. Textbooks (unless you like to enroll for more classes than you plan on taking and then dropping the one you like the least, I highly recommend getting all your textbooks ahead of time. You're prepared for the professors who assign homework right away, and you avoid the long lines at the bookstore that first week) 


7. Laptop/tablet (for note taking or doing homework between classes; I'd recommend, however, not pulling out your technology the first day of class to get the vibe of the class and the professor first. Laptops can also be distracting as no matter how good of a student you are it's still hard to resist the temptation of browsing the internet. Be mindful and make the best choice for your learning and focus)  

8. Different colored highlighters (for note taking and reading) 

9. Notebook (for taking notes for a particular class; I recommend any kind that has the Cornell style) 

10. Read the syllabus for each course closely to see if it lists any additional supplies. While rare, some professors do prefer you use certain supplies and will list them in the syllabus if that is their preference. 

And of course, any kind of tote or backpack will be fine to carry your supplies, whatever you like best! Find something durable, comfortable, and that works with your style. 

Make your college supply school shopping as fun as it was when you picked out that Lion King backpack and fresh pack of colored pencils before your first day of 2nd grade (that was me, complete with side-ponytail). 

You'll also probably like the video below. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Can you get scholarships during your junior year of college?

Below is an e-mail exchange I had last week with a student asking for scholarship help. With her permission I'm sharing the exchange in hopes it can help you too!

Dear Isa,

I am going to be a college junior this fall. I have looked up scholarship information on your website, my school's website, and have attended many info sessions about scholarships at my college.

There are only a few scholarships for juniors and seniors, but a lot for incoming freshman and graduate students. I have looked on and went to my local library to search for scholarships for my year. What other resources should be used?

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. It is highly appreciated.



Hi Ashley,

To be honest I always had a hard time finding good scholarships online too. It sounds like you are doing everything right so far, especially by attending info sessions at your college.

I had my entire college paid for through direct college scholarships (e.g. ones offered by the university to which I transferred after community college) and the Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship, and I applied for both during my sophomore year; so I'm not exactly the expert when it comes to finding many scholarships during your junior year.

However, my philosophy has always been to get to know mentors and professors on your campus and ask them for scholarship advice, as well as any creative ways to make money on campus (e.g. some groups offer stipends for involvement, like orientation leaders or student government). I did make money my junior year by becoming an orientation leader, and I loved it!

(I also became an SAT/ACT tutor as a part-time job, and was a nanny, which also helped pay the bills outside of tuition.)

Just because you're already halfway through college doesn't mean you can't find ways to pay for it - but it may mean you need to get more creative. And the people on campus are often the best resources (e.g. even the big scholarships I got I learned about from friends in clubs and professors). 

Ask advice from everyone on campus that you can. Be vulnerable about your situation and be willing to invest the time.

And in the end, remember that your education is the BEST investment you can make. Taking out loans or paying out of pocket is NOT a failure (especially if you choose a low-cost and reputable public college). It's one of the smartest things you can do for yourself, so don't get discouraged if you come up short of what you're hoping for when it comes to scholarships. 

The most important thing is that you are putting your 100% into your classes and experiences (e.g. getting involved and internships) so you can make the most of your investment.

Good luck and thanks for reaching out!


Isa :)