Archive for the ‘College Life’ Category

The Cappex Guide to College Campus Safety

Categories: College Life

Going to college is an exciting rite of passage. You are finally stepping out on your own and taking the first steps in creating the life you’ve always wanted. To make sure your dreams don’t get cut short, it’s important to know how to stay safe in the college environment.

Because we know you’ve got a lot on your mind when it comes to college preparation, we’ve put together this guide to help you be smart when it comes to campus safety. Check out four foolproof ways to safeguard your college experience.

1. Pick a safe college.

It might seem like a no-brainer, but one of the best ways to ensure a safe college experience is to select a college with an excellent safety record. A wide variety of factors can influence the safety of a college, including the city or neighborhood where the school is located and how robust the college security program is.


It’s surprisingly easy to find out how your school ranks on safety; a well-respected list of safe schools is a great place to start your research. We recently published a list of the top 25 safest colleges in the country, based on real student reviews. You can also check out the safety record of the city where your school is located: check out lists of safe cities in the state you’re attending school, like this one for California, or crime statistics from the FBI.

Every college and university in the country is also required to publish an Annual Security Report, in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act. These reports are updated every October and available either on a college’s website or through the US Department of Education’s national database. Detailed information about the incidence of crime on campus for the past three years, campus safety resources and programs available, and information about fire safety and emergency planning are all included.

2. Stay safe on campus.

Picking a college with a reputation for safety isn’t where your diligence should end. It’s just as important to be prepared to stay safe once you start classes. Make sure you always know where you’re going and plan your treks across campus to ensure you stay in well-lit, commonly traveled areas. Avoid short-cuts that take you off the beaten path into the remote areas on campus. And whenever possible, travel in pairs—there really is safety in numbers.

You can also take advantage of a variety of apps designed to help keep you from harm. iHelpPlus is an app that lets you alert family or friends that you’re in danger—and all you have to do is touch the screen. And don’t forget about your phone’s flashlight. Sometimes the possibility of exposure is enough to make a bad guy think twice.

Personal alarms are also worth considering. You can find keychain alarms that are small and lightweight, and will alert anyone nearby to an emergency situation. The alarm may also scare off any would-be attackers.

3. Stay safe when you go online.

These days you need to be smart about keeping yourself from harm in the online environment as well as on campus. Social media is one of the most common and convenient ways to stay in touch with friends and find out where tonight’s study group or party is. But too much information posted online can make you a target.

Resist the urge to “check in” everywhere you go. Restrict the amount of personal information you post online. Keep your phone number and other sensitive information private or remove it all together. The best rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t share this information with a stranger, refrain from posting it online. If you’re unsure of how much is too much when it comes to online sharing, there are dozens of resources and online classes you can take that teach you how to use privacy settings and deal with other online issues.


4. Know where you can turn for help.

In addition to choosing a college with a great safety record, being proactive when it comes to safety on campus, and keeping yourself protected online, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Every college and university is required to have certain safety resources in place for students.

Learn how to contact the campus police, or be sure to know the designated safety officer if your college doesn’t have a police department. And just because you’re on campus doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to local law enforcement if you find yourself in a scary situation. Most colleges work closely with local police and sheriff’s departments to ensure safety and quick response for students in need. A lot of colleges also have free and confidential counseling if you don’t feel comfortable going to a police officer.

Pay attention to security features on campus like emergency telephones and panic buttons. You deserve to have a safe, fun college experience, so educate yourself on campus resources and be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Wherever you choose to go, we hope that you keep these resources in mind and have a fantastically safe college experience. What do you think is the most effective way to ensure a safe college experience?

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Holly King is a recently graduated writer living in Salt Lake City, UT. When not scouring the internet for updates in business, lifestyles, and technology, she is tending to her garden and trying to perfect the world’s best egg sandwich.

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How to Deal with Feeling Homesick in College

Categories: College Life

college-student-depressionThere’s no doubt that college is exciting, but along with that excitement can come feelings of uneasiness and discomfort in your new routine. For students who move away for school and leave the familiarities of home, the transition can be especially challenging. Now that the school year is in full swing and the newness of college life has worn off, it’s not unusual for students to start feeling homesick. So what should you do when all you want to do is go home?

Get Out of Your Dorm Room

When you’re feeling blue, it’s easy to get into the habit of isolating yourself in your dorm room. Remember that your room is just a room, so try to make the entire campus your home away from home. Explore campus, try out new study and dining spaces, or join a student organization that interests you. If you have any qualms about doing things on your own, try to get over those as soon as possible. You won’t have the same schedule as your friends and won’t always be able to coordinate meals or activities. It’s important to keep healthy and active, so don’t always settle for mac and cheese in your room when your friends aren’t around to go to the dining hall.

Make a Plan for Your Next Visit Home

When you’re missing your family, your friends, or even just your bed, keep in mind that you will be going back. Plan a special activity or outing for the next time you visit home so you’ll have something to look forward to. Do call home when you need to, and planning something fun for your next visit will help keep conversations positive. If you’re already worried about coming back to school after a break at home, try this trick: right before you leave, rearrange the furniture in your room (with permission of any roommates of course). When you return to campus, you’ll have a fresh start.

Explore the Community Off Campus

When campus doesn’t feel like home, it can feel claustrophobic and it’s easy to develop negative feelings towards it. Remember that you aren’t trapped on campus, and an outside world does exist. Take opportunities to explore the surrounding community, especially when you’re missing home. You may find new things that remind you of the comforts of home, or just remind you how exciting it is to explore a new place. Check your school’s transportation webpage for information on getting around town.

Open Up

Don’t be afraid to speak up about your feelings. It may seem like everyone else has fully acclimated to college life, but more likely than not, many of your peers are feeling homesick too. Talking about it with new friends or your RA may be awkward, but it’s a great way to form bonds and find others you can team up with to overcome your feelings. Homesickness in college is normal, especially during your first year, but if your symptoms won’t go away or are getting worse, reach out for help. Professionals in your school’s counseling office have experience working with homesick students and may be able to share some advice and techniques with you.

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The Ultimate Guide to Letters of Recommendation: Who to Ask and How to Do It

Letters of recommendation. The elusive cousin of resumes and cover letters. While they’re not always invited to the party, they are generally welcomed as a nice surprise when they show up. They convey—possibly more than anything else—your work ethic. It’s important that your recommendation letters evolve as you take each new step in your academic and professional career.

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Who to Ask


Letters of recommendation are required for many college and scholarship applications and many volunteering opportunities. Think about the position or institution you are applying for and select letter writers that know your character and skillset the best. Some of those people may include:

  • Teacher: A teacher you’ve had at least a class or two with will be able to speak to your general work ethic, personality, determination, and willingness to go the extra mile. They are a good person to ask to write about your history of academic achievements.
  • Volunteering coordinator: Do you have previous experience volunteering? If you worked closely with a supervisor or volunteer coordinator during your experience, they would be a perfect candidate to write about your willingness to help and your dedication to a specific community.
  • Employer: Juggling a part-time job with school, extra-curricular activities, and volunteering says a lot about your ability to balance multiple things at once. Your employer will be able to talk about your punctuality, your enthusiasm to succeed, and how well you work with a team.


Recommendation letters are going to be important for three main things: internships, graduate programs, and your first out-of-school job. Even if a letter of recommendation isn’t specifically asked for, it is not a bad idea to have a few written up on your behalf to bring them with you to interviews. Not only does it show that you are a person worth vouching for, but it shows that you are willing to go the extra mile.

  • Academic advisor: Most colleges require each student to have an academic advisor. This is someone that should know your academic history as well as your passion for your field. Encourage them to write about your thirst for knowledge and excitement learn new things.
  • Internship supervisor: A supervisor from a previous internship is the best person to recommend you for your next internship. If you implemented any changes or created a project during your internship, ask your supervisor to mention that process and how it helped their business.
  • Mentor: If you’ve found a mentor in college, you should absolutely ask them to write you a letter of recommendation. Depending on your relationship, this is someone who will know what kind of work and activities you’ve been involved in, what you want to do in the future, and who can speak to what you’re capable of—chances are it’s a lot!

How to Ask

Writing a good letter of recommendation is no easy task. Once you decide who you want to ask, you need to take into account their schedule, how well they know you, and what they are best suited to write about. Follow these tips for a smooth process.

  • Be courteous: Writing one of these letters takes time. Make sure you ask if they’d be willing to write the letter at least a month before you need it. This gives plenty of time for them to come back to you with questions and work through multiple drafts. It also gives you time to find someone new if for some reason they say no or have to back out. It is your responsibility to let them know upfront of any deadlines or special requirements for the letter.
  • Be helpful: In order to write a great letter, your references will need details. Make sure to supply letter writers with a copy of your resume and cover letter, as well as the position description if the letter is going to be for something specific. You should let your writer know if you want them to mention specific pieces of information. It’s important to let them feel free to write their true opinions, but it’s never a bad thing to tell them why you are asking them to write the letter and what you think they can best speak about. Think of this as an opportunity to have someone else talk about things you couldn’t fit in your resume.
  • Be thankful: The process isn’t over when they hand you their letter. Make sure to look it over (unless it’s required to be sealed) and verify that it’s relevant and what you need for your application. After you’ve sent it off, be sure to thank your writer. An old fashioned thank you note is the best way to go, and mention how much it meant to you that they were willing to vouch for you and help you achieve your goals.

Whether you’re applying for a scholarship, a new job, a graduate program, or you just want something to supplement your resume, a strong letter of recommendation can set you apart from other applicants. Not only does it show your ability to build and maintain working relationships, a well-written letter gives potential employers, colleges, and scholarship providers an idea of your past achievements and work-ethic. To ensure a useful and relevant letter, ask someone who has a history of working with or advising you to write a recommendation. Provide the writer with examples of your work, an updated resume, and a brief description of the position or organization you are applying to.

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Holly King is a recently graduated writer living in Salt Lake City, UT. When not scouring the internet for updates in business, lifestyles, and technology, she is tending to her garden and trying to perfect the world’s best egg sandwich.

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