Archive for the ‘College Life’ Category

How to Start a Student Organization

Activities such as organizations, clubs, and volunteer work are important when it comes to college, scholarship, and job applications. Colleges, scholarship providers, and prospective employers are always looking for leadership skills among their applicants. To make yourself stand out, think about something you’re passionate about. If there isn’t already a student organization surrounding that cause or activity, consider starting your own organization!

studentorganizations

Creating your own student organization is beneficial for you because it provides you with a way of meeting fellow students with interests similar to yours who you can work with toward a common goal. It’s also great for your school because it will allow students to become more involved on campus and they’ll be able to provide a more diverse set of extracurricular offerings to prospective students. Creating or even just participating in an organization is a great way build your resume while doing something you enjoy and are passionate about — what a sweet deal! If you’re interested in moving forward with your idea, here are the steps needed to start a student organization.

Step 1. Strategic Planning

First and foremost you will need to develop a mission and focus of your organization. There are many questions you should ask, and answer, before and during your planning to create a new organization. What are you passionate about? Why do you want to create an organization? What do you wish to achieve by creating this organization? Are there other students that share the same passion and goals? Is the organization appropriate for your college and fit into your college’s mission? Does it address any issues that the campus may be facing? Why does your organization need to be recognized by the school and how will it benefit the school? Is there an existing organization on campus that is similar to your organization’s mission and goals? The answers to these questions will be most helpful when you have to draft a proposal and constitution of the organization for your college’s approval. Familiarize yourself with the answers to all those questions, because college, administrators, advisors, and students will want to learn more about your organization before committing to it.

Step 2. Founding Members

In order to successfully start your organization, you will need support. Speak to people you believe will be interested or who can help you spread the word. Additionally, your school may require more than one member in order to establish the organization/club in the first place. Having additional founding members will also help ease your stress and tension because they can help you with the workload and preparation.

Step 3. Advising

Once you have an idea and people to support your plan and goals, you will need to speak to an advisor at your school to discuss next steps. Since different schools have different requirements, it is important to discuss with the advisors first before to see what else you’ll need to make your dream come true. Your advisor can answer most of your questions and concerns about getting your organization recognized and approved at the college.

Step 4. Paperwork

There will be quite a bit of paperwork, so be prepared to write, present, talk, and sign a whole lot. At this point, you need to sit down and draft the official documents for the organization. As the founder of the organization, you will most likely have to draft a constitution. This document should be detailed and include statements regarding the name of the organization and its meaning, what it stands for, the goal and purpose of the organization, the benefits of having the organization on campus and why the acknowledgement by the college is important, the activities the organization will participate in and any causes that the organization might be involved in, current and future plans for the organization, and how the organization can benefit the community in a bigger picture. Additional documents may be required depending on your organization.

Step 5. Congratulations!

After all your hard work, your organization is finally acknowledged by the college and is officially open to student involvement! Now it is time to establish the organization in the community of students. Utilize your marketing and public communication skills to recruit more members and encourage involvement in both the organization and the community. You can pass out flyers, hold information sessions, host activities and events to raise awareness of your organization, and participate in student-centered events and activities on and off campus to gain a better sense of community and recruit. It may be stressful and frustrating at first, but it will be well worth it when students begin to show interest and join. Remember to have fun with it. Good luck!

Still trying to figure out what you’re most passionate about? Cappex can help! Explore your interests by visiting our Colleges and Majors search tool.

image credit: ferguson.ua.edu

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Stop What You’re Doing and Get Organized

Categories: College Life

plannerLearning how to plan, organize, and prioritize your school work and your personal life can help make you more successful. On top of possibly boosting your grades and lowering your stress level, mastering these skills now will help you in every aspect of life from here on out.

Honing your organizational skills can make you more marketable to employers. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hiring managers said the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work was one of the top three skill sets they look for when hiring recent college graduates. Need we say more?

If you struggle with meeting deadlines and operate in panic mode more often than you’d like, it could be because organization isn’t your strongest trait. The good news is it’s an easy skill to learn and the more you use it, the better you become! Here are five steps to help get you started.

Step 1. Start saying “no.”

Trying to balance demands from sports, extracurricular activities, work, friends, and family can leave you feeling frenzied and with no time to get organized. If this sounds familiar, practice saying “no” the next time you’re asked to help with a fundraiser, or consider backing off one of your sports. You may need to reduce the number of hours you work, and rein in your social life too. Before long, you’ll find you’re less stressed and have more time to conquer the tasks on your to-do list.

Tip: Take a look at your commitments and decide which ones you can cut out of your schedule. Then decide how many hours your school work and other requirements demand each day, and adjust your schedule accordingly.

Step 2. Seize the power of a to-do list.

Now that you’ve reduced your commitments a bit, use a to-do list to prioritize your tasks and maximize your new-found “free time.” Every night, write a to-do list for the next day and estimate how long it will take for you to tackle each chore. The moment you wake up you know exactly what needs to be done! You’ll discover that getting the tasks out of your head and prioritized into a to-do list can help you feel less besieged by all you have to do, and make you more efficient at accomplishing your tasks. You might even end up with some true free time! On the other hand, a to-do list can also help you realize there’s more to do than you thought, but finding out sooner than later gives you a change to be proactive. Rearrange your schedule right away, and dodge the dreaded all-nighter.

If writing your to-do list with pen and paper feels old-school, try an app like iProcrastinate. This app makes it easy to organize your to-do lists and responsibilities, set priority levels for tasks, and break tasks down into steps. iProcrastinate also offers a “sharable” feature, which is perfect for creating to-do lists for group projects.

Tip: If you’re a high school junior who’s dreaming of finding the perfect college, here’s a great Post-Thanksgiving College Search To-Do List to get you started!

Step 3. Set deadlines and abide by them.

Make a habit of setting deadlines to help break big projects or goals down into less daunting bite-sized tasks, and soon you’ll be crossing items off your to-do list with ease. At the beginning of each semester, create a calendar that identifies due dates for major assignments. Then work backward on the calendar, noting the date each aspect of the assignment must be turned in, or when you should have your research or first draft done.

If you have a number of assignments and deadlines and find keeping track of them is getting challenging, you might consider using an app like iStudiez Pro. This popular app separates functions into five key areas: Overview, Assignments, Planner, Instructors, and Holidays, and lets you set deadlines down to the minute. Among other features, iStudiez Pro also lets you plan study sessions, incorporate your class schedule, and even track your GPA.

Tip: You’ll be less likely to procrastinate if you reward yourself for meeting project milestones and deadlines. How about a latte or an excursion to the movies?

Step 4. Buy a good planner, and use it!

Whether you’re in high school or college, you need a good planner. It’s the ideal place to keep all of your deadlines and to-do lists right at hand. Be faithful about filling out your planner with all of your commitments, such as project meetings, drama rehearsals, and your work schedule, so with one quick glance you not only know what you have to do, you can easily spot competing priorities and make adjustments.

Tip: These days student planners come in an assortment of shapes and sizes, from petite and chic to full sized and professional. Whatever style you decide to go with, make sure it offers an academic calendar that starts in July or August, rather than a traditional one that begins in January. We love this Achieve Student Day Planner, complete with full color photography!

Step 5. Forgo multitasking, do one thing at a time for best results.

Pressed for time, many students learn to multitask like it’s their job. If you’re one of them, you should know that when you do several things at once (surf Instagram while writing a paper and watching TV) you’re less likely to be successful at any one of the tasks. In the end, that means you’ll spend more time than necessary writing your paper or studying for a test.

Tip: Organize your day by blocking out periods of time to conquer specific tasks, and say so-long to multitasking. Your to-do list will come in handy here! Maybe you’ll study from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and then check in on social media for 30 minutes afterwards.

Like every new skill, it takes some time to master planning and organizing, but learning how to successfully accomplish a myriad of tasks in an efficient way will help you achieve success long after graduation.

Image credit: plannerhack.com

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How to Save Money in College: 13 Quick Tips

Categories: College Life

Easy-Ways-to-Save-Money

College is a time of fun, learning, and exploring who you are and who you want to be. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when money is usually quite tight. Most students leave college with $33,000 of student loan debt, so it’s important to enter your college career with a mind for frugality.

There are lots of creative ways to save money. Some are easy, some require a bit of discipline. Here are some quick tips for how to save money in college:

Books

1. Avoid the bookstore. Rent or purchase used books online rather than using the expensive campus bookstore.
2. Share books. If you have a friend in the same class, offer to share textbooks, splitting the cost down the middle.

Food and Drink

3. Forego your latte for a regular coffee. If you frequent coffee shops, a latte or other specialty beverage can set you back upwards of $5. Regular coffee and tea are always a few bucks cheaper, which adds up in the long run. If you’re able to, save even more money by making coffee at home before you go out. (We love this compact, single-serve coffee maker that brews directly into a travel mug!)
4. Drink water, not soda. Instead of spending a couple bucks for a soda each day, purchase a reusable water bottle. Water can help keep your body working efficiently, reducing the need for a caffeinated pick-me-up.
5. Grocery shop for the week. If you live off campus, don’t shop for meals as you need them. This often leads to impulse buying and breaks your budget. Instead, plan your meals with your roommates and be sure to divide the bill evenly between everyone.
6. Clip coupons. Scan the local paper for coupons each Sunday and scope out free coupon websites before each trip to the store. Be careful, though: don’t let a good deal entice you into buying something you don’t really need.

Entertainment

7. Kick cable to the curb. Cable television is extremely expensive. Choose a free or low-cost streaming option instead.
8. Find free fun. When you want to do something fun with your friends, scope out free or low-cost options available in your area. Look for a local park, zoo, or museum that is free to the public. Instead of eating at a restaurant, have a picnic or invite your friends over for a potluck meal. Rather than going to a theater, host a movie night or TV show marathon.
9. Use your student ID. If you do end up going out somewhere, ask if the establishment offers a student discount. Movie theaters, restaurants, museums, and other businesses, especially those in college towns, sometimes offer discounts for students if they show their ID.

Transportation

10. Take the bus. Many local communities offer free or reduced bus fare for college students. Instead of wasting money on gassing up your car, take advantage of this perk to get from point A to point B. If you must drive, carpool, and alternate who drives to keep things fair.
11. Bike it. If you have a bike, use it. Not only will this save you gas and parking expenses, it will help keep you fit. Plus, it’s usually much easier to find a place to park your bike than your car.

Shopping

12. Shop in thrift stores. Before hitting the mall, check out local thrift stores to see what fashion-forward bargains you can find. If you’re crafty, you can always turn something old into something new! Try selling your old clothes on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook community groups. To avoid using extra money, use only the profits from those sales to purchase new clothes.
13. Don’t use your credit card. If you have a credit card, don’t carry it with you at all times. Instead, take a modest amount of cash with you when you go out and save your credit card for real financial emergencies.

Saving money is never easy, which is why most Americans carry such high amounts of debt. Developing thrifty and frugal habits in college can not only help you ease some of the stress that comes with being a broke college student, but it can also give you a solid foundation for good spending habits once you graduate.

Russel Cooke is a business consultant and writer from Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Louisville, and worked in the Louisville area for over ten years before become an independent consultant and business writer. He recently relocated to Los Angeles, California. You can follow Russel on Twitter @RusselCooke2.

image credit: momentumperformancetraining.com

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