Archive for the ‘High School Life & Advice’ Category

Winter Survival Kit for High School & College Students

We here at Cappex Headquarters are right in the middle of a deep freeze! If you’re in an area that’s suffering from similar conditions, walking and driving to and from class can prove to be quite the treacherous journey. We’re offering up a few essential items to assemble for your winter survival kit that will help you get through the season.

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1. Invest in a quality coat, because it will make all the difference. In severely cold temperatures, someone who isn’t bundled up properly or has exposed skin can develop frostbite or hypothermia in a matter of minutes. Choose a coat that has down or down alternative filling – like this one from Orolay or this one from U.S. Polo Assn. – or another fluffy material that offers a good amount of insulation. Look for one with a hat to keep your entire head covered and warm during those times where the wind chill drops.

2. It’s a good idea to stock up on essential medicine before you get sick. The last thing you’ll want to do when you’re sick is go out in the cold weather to go to the store. Save yourself the trip by being one step ahead. Be sure to have on hand pain relievers, cold & flu relief medicine, cough and throat drops, and tissues. We love this adorable kit from Mom’s Medicine Chest that has all the essentials in one place.

3. If you’re not feeling well or just need to defrost after a particularly cold walk, curling up under an electric throw or blanket will warm you up in no time. For chilly nights, warm up your bed before getting into it at night: about ten or fifteen minutes before you’re ready to go to bed, lay out your electric blanket under your blankets and on top of your flat sheet. Once you’re ready, remove and unplug the electric blanket and enjoy the warmth as you drift off to sleep. We’re big fans of this heated throw from Sunbeam that’s the perfect size for wrapping up in. (Whenever using an electric blanket, be sure to follow all the safety instructions and always unplug it when not in use.) 

4. For those days when you’ve got a long, cold walk ahead of you or when you need to stay outside for an extended amount of time, keep your hands and feet extra warm with hand and feet warmers. These warmers come in all different shapes and sizes, like these hand warmers and foot warmers from HotHands, and provide tremendous warmth for hours.

autumn-blanket-cardigan-coffee-Favim.com-6325465. Winter is hibernation season, which means that going out to eat is not always an option. Delivery can get expensive, so to save a few bucks and eat in the comfort of your own home, stock up on canned goods and microwaveable food. Let’s be honest, after a cold, hard day, nothing beats effortless, on-demand, warm food. For these types of situations, having food options on hand that are quick and super easy to prepare are ideal, like soup, chili, spaghetti-o’s, mac & cheese, dry microwaveable meals, and frozen meals. Another great option is whipping up a big batch of soup, chili, or pasta on the weekend and heating up individual portions of it throughout the week. Don’t forget to also stock up on essential warm weather drinks, like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

6. To keep yourself extra warm when you have to brave the elements, wear tight clothing under your regular clothes. Tight clothing, such as leggings and fitted shirts are great in retaining warmth and body temperature. Cuddl Duds makes a huge selection of clothing made specifically for this purpose, so check them out.

7. Moisturizing and exfoliating have never been more important than now. As the cold season progresses, your skin will become dry, crackly, and flaky. To treat this, regularly exfoliate and moisturize your hands, face, and lips. Invest in a good hand cream and some lip balm. For your face, there are many DIY exfoliation and moisturizing recipes using everyday ingredients that will do the trick.

If the cold has you holed up inside, take advantage of that time by checking in on your Cappex College Message Center and maybe even applying for a few scholarships!

image credits: news.cornell.edu & favim.com

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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!

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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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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

HIGH SCHOOL

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.

COLLEGE

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.
 
 

image credit: colorado.edu

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