The Ultimate College Freshman Packing List

It is officially summer, at least it is for me, and the quest to gather everything needed for college has begun. Packing up basically your whole life is a daunting task to say the least, so to make it a little easier for you, I’m sharing my list. Obviously everything on my list won’t be everything on your list, but hopefully this helps to get you started (Sorry it’s a little wonky)

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For more dorm content, check out my first Dorm Haul on my YouTube channel next week. Find it here.

What’s on your college packing list? Comment below!

XOXO Anna

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The Collge Convo: Greek Life Edition

With less than four months until move-in day for all of you college-bound seniors, there’s a lot to do to prepare. Last month we covered all of the general things, but for the last edition of The College Convo, I’ll be attempting to help us all prepare for rushing a sorority or fraternity.

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I know Greek Life isn’t for everyone, but it’s something I recommend everyone at least looks into. I never thought I would want to rush a sorority in a million years, but as I tried to find my perfect college, I found more and more people that fell in love with Greek life, making me curious what it was all about. With benefits like a community of friends, community service and philanthropy opportunities, and academic and professional networks, it’s worth a second glance.

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“My experience with recruitment was amazing, and I couldn’t be happier to have joined Zeta Tau Alpha. I have met the best people in my life and also had the chance to hold a director’s position – Director Of Philanthropy,” Kayla Herrmann  said. “Coming in hesitant about the process and having it end this way is the best feeling. I couldn’t ask for a better group of friends or experiences. Living all together my sophomore year is something I will never forget.”

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If you do plan to rush, find information from the Panhellenic Association at your specific school because details vary from campus to campus. The basics tend to be the same, however.

“Rush Week” is generally stretched out over two weekends in either the fall or late winter. There are generally four rounds, which usually present themselves in the following order: open house, house tours, skit or philanthropy round (round three varies the most), and preference round. Then of course, there’s bid day where everyone finds out what sorority or fraternity they will soon be members of.

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At the end of each round participants will pick which sororities or fraternities they want to go back to. This number gets smaller and smaller as recruitment progresses.

At Miami University, rush is right after winter break and takes place Thursday-Sunday that first week back, then the following weekend as well.

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At the first round, everyone gets a t-shirt to wear. The next round is the philanthropy round where Herrmann recommends you wear a cute, but casual outfit. Next comes the sisterhood round where Herrmann suggests you wear business casual dress. In this round, participants learn about sisterhood retreats and hear personal stories from current members of each sorority.  The last round is preference round where you dress up in a dress and heels or flats.

Obviously, this is a bare minimum explanation of recruitment. Depending on the school, you might need to gather recommendation letters from alumni, or you might have to get to campus a week or two early to participate in rush (this is mainly in the south). This is why it’s important to check out the Panhellenic association’s website for your school to get all of the specific details.

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Another great resource is the Sorority Rush Guide on hercampus.com.

The biggest overall tips to survive recruitment are to be positive and happy, have an open mind, and have fun. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day, right?

Good luck with the rest of your senior year and whatever the next four years bring!

 

 

XOXO Anna

The College Convo: Prep Edition

The last months of high school are in full swing for all the seniors out there. Congratulations to all of you on all of your future endeavors. To those of you admitted to a college, these last five months before move-in day, if you’re like me, are excruciating. Personally, I can’t wait until move-in day and the start of my college career.

Even though there’s five months until the next chapter of our lives begins, there are some things you can do now to prepare.

Read More »

The College Convo: Roommate Edition

The New Year is officially here and many of us seniors have been accepted into the college of our dreams. If that acceptance letter hasn’t quite gotten to you, don’t worry, it’ll happen!

After getting accepted, the next steps are to accept your acceptance, begin networking with your future classmates, and embark on the search for a roommate. As daunting as the task can seem, I’ve got some tips to make finding and choosing a roommate, a breeze.

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Use social media.

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During this seven-month period of waiting for move-in day, you can get a head start on meeting classmates, making friends, and finding a roommate by using social media. Most colleges have an official class of 2021 Facebook page that they invite you to join upon your acceptance.

I know you may be thinking that no one uses Facebook, but it can become an integral part of the beginning of your college experience. I’ve found it incredibly useful to get to know everyone.

After getting accepted to Syracuse University, I joined the official Facebook group where I was invited to join group chats through Groupme for the entire class of 2021 and for my specific college. In the last few weeks I’ve gotten to know my future classmates and continue to communicate with them through Groupme, Snapchat, Houseparty (a video chat app that allows up to 8 people in a group at once), and Facebook.

Loveland Graduate Joel Spencer found success through social media during his senior year as well.

He joined the UC class of 2019 Facebook page after getting accepted his senior year.

“It was a place where older students could answer questions that incoming freshman had, and also a place where you could meet other new students,” Spencer said, “There were tons of people posting short paragraphs about themselves and starting conversations in the comments section, all hoping to make friends and possible future roommates.”

Spencer was able to meet two of his three roommates through the Facebook group. This year, Spencer and those two guys rented a house near campus and remain good friends.

Try to choose your roommate instead of getting randomly assigned.

A Loveland graduate of the class of 2016, Ashley Mays, warned against getting your roommate through a random assignment.

“I know a lot of people who went random and ended up hating their roommates. One of my friends’ roommates left a note on her bed explaining why she was moving out after first semester,” Mays said.

Choose wisely.

Madi Stanley, a Loveland graduate of the class of 2015, picked a roommate from the Ohio University official Facebook group. Her experience wasn’t as great as Mays’.

“Our likes and dislikes meshed together well, but our personalities did not, something you can’t really tell from online communication,” Stanley said.

There are some ways you can try to avoid situations like that.

If possible, try to meet with your potential roommate in person before agreeing to room together. This is something Spencer did before agreeing to room with the guys that became his roommates.

It’s easier to get an idea of his or her personality in person or even on Facetime than it is through texts. If that’facetime_yosemite-svgs not a possibility, talk to them for at least a few days and ask the right questions before agreeing to room together.

 

Some of the most important topics to discuss with a potential roommate, according to USA Today, are study habits, the likelihood of visitors, Greek life, sleeping habits, and common interests.

Stanley gave the following advice to roommate seeking members of this year’s graduating class.

“Most of the time, everything works out fine so it’s nothing to get super stressed out about,” Stanley said.

None of these tips are foolproof, you might still hate your roommate despite your conception that you would love them.

“You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, you just have to live well together. If worst comes to worst, all you have to do is sleep there,” Stanley said.

For more information or to get a template of a roommate contract once you find a roommate, the blog, Her Campus is a great resource for all things college.

Hopefully with these tips and the advice of current students, you can find success in finding a roommate too.

Where will you be attending in the fall?

XOXO Anna

 

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The College Convo: Admission Decision Edition

“This is not what I want. This is not what I planned, and I just gotta’ say, I do not understand,” Sharpay Evans said in High School Musical.

To be honest, Sharpay was being a little melodramatic in this scene, but if thoughts like the words in that quote are running through your head, you’re probably not being melodramatic. College is a big decision and getting rejected by the school of your dreams can be a huge letdown.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there’s a wikihow article for everything.

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After an admission rejection, it can be important to let yourself feel disappointed for a few days. During these days, that article on wikihow could help. After a day or two, you’ve got to get past the disappointment and find a way to make the best of it.

Sounds easier said than done, right?

Don’t let one rejection – even if it feels like the only admission decision that matters – ruin the rest of your senior year or your college experience. There are plenty of great schools and although they may not be your top choice, you may end up liking them as much (or even more) than that dream school that didn’t have the decency to accept you.

I realize you may be reading this and thinking it’s too late, but it’s definitely not too late. There are a ton of schools whose application deadlines haven’t passed.

The Ohio State University, Ohio University, and Miami University all have a regular decision deadline of February 1.

Another less expensive option is spending the first two years of your college career at a branch campus like the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College. Tuition is about half the cost at a branch campus and you still get a diploma that says University of Cincinnati.

The application deadline for UC Blue Ash is July 1.

Want to get out of Ohio?

Penn State University accepts applications through at least January 31. Some of their most popular majors, according to College Board, are business, engineering, and communications.

The University of Alabama has great programs in Business, communications, and health professions. Their application deadline is February 1.

Read more tips for applying here.

Enjoy winter break and don’t let any rejections get you down. There’s a classy school somewhere that’ll take you with arms open.

Have a question or need some advice? Leave a comment or contact me here.

Tell me all about your admission decisions in the comments!

XOXO Anna

 

The College Convo: Homecoming Edition

college-convo-logo  One of the largest activities of the fall is homecoming. While we’ve already experienced that phenomenon, October is prime time for homecoming at colleges across the country as well. But how does it work at these institutions of higher education?

  Homecoming tends to differ from school to school but the main focus is football and alumni. This in no way means that it’s not fun for students too. Read on and find out what to expect when you step onto your chosen campus in years to come.

  Kayla Herrmann (Alumnus) attends Miami University and described how homecoming works in Oxford.

  “We have a week-long celebration followed by a weekend of more events. The entire week is all about school spirit and pride, and bringing people together to celebrate a common love amongst us all; Miami University,” Herrmann said.

  Some of the activities included an exotic animal zoo in Uptown Park, a house decorating competition in which the winner received $500, a special homecoming dinner, a networking reception for students and alumni, an outdoor movie screening each night, and much more.

  While the events seem much more exciting than just the class competitions and parade experienced in high school, the premise is the same. Celebrate your school, let alumni come home, and have fun.

At Belmont, where Clayton Walker (alumnus) is furthering his education, the focus is, of course, on the alumni but there is plenty for students to do.

  There is a king and queen who are chosen through online voting; since Belmont focuses heavily on the arts, some alumni perform, and there’s a campus-wide tailgate before the homecoming football game.

To make the most of the weeklong festivities, follow these tips. 

Take advantage of the week and make plans with friends both still in school and alumni. Along with all the school-run activities, there’s plenty of parties and excuses to get together with friends.

Participate. You may have gotten into the habit of thinking you’re too cool for spirit week, but college is a fresh start. Get into the spirit of the week and show some pride for your new school.

Go to the football game. If you’re going to miss a game, this is definitely not the one to miss. Similar to high school, the atmosphere is amazing and fun. Tarah Wagner (12) attended the homecoming game at The Ohio State University and describes the fun.

“The passion for the school and overall energy was amplified even more than it already is. OSU is full of energy 24/7 and it was like something you’d see in a movie,” Wagner said.

Take advantage of all the opportunities. Whether it’s an exotic zoo like at Miami, or networking opportunities with alumni, don’t miss out on the unique opportunities the week has to offer.

  

The College Convo: Application Edition

college-convo-logo  College. It’s the super exciting, but more than slightly terrifying word describing the next step for about 69% of high school seniors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re freaking out, even a little, the time to worry is over. The College Convo is here with all the tips and tricks you need to not only survive, but thrive on the road to college.

If you’ve taken an AP class, you’re probably familiar with collegeboard.org. They’re not only good for giving you your AP scores, they also have GREAT tips for your college application. With some help from College Board and other reliable sources, you can all knock the socks off all those admissions officers. Here’s some tips:

Get organized.

If you haven’t already started your applications, GET TO IT. College Board recommends that you start early so especially if you’re applying early action or early decision, set deadlines for everything. Essays, teacher recommendations, and the application itself are all things that take time you may or may not have in your life.

If you’re not sure when things are due, check the Common App or the websites of the colleges you plan on applying to. The next step is adding all deadlines and dates of importance to a calendar you check regularly.

Be Consistent and Careful.

Applications need to be accurate and – when filling out multiple things for the same school – consistent. According to College Board, using the same name exactly on all forms makes things easier for admission officers. Remember, they’re your key to getting into the school of your dreams so easier for them is better for you.

The careful part comes in here. After completing your application, College Board recommends leaving it for a day then proofing it. If a parent or teacher can proof it, even better.

“US News and World Report” interviewed college admissions officers, asking about their pet peeves.

Robert Barkley from Clemson University advises students to read directions carefully. If the application asks “do you have a visa,” they’re not talking about your credit card; they’re talking about necessary paperwork for international students. So try not to give them a nice little laugh by filling in your credit card number.

Don’t forget about Naviance.

Remember that assembly on the first day of school? The counselors gave us some advice that may not have seemed too important at the time. Check out “Loveland HS Office of School Counseling” on YouTube for lots of how-to information pertaining to all things college application.

Keep it clear and concise.

Leigh A. Weisenburger admissions officer from Bates College stresses only submitting a resume if it asks for one. If not, the activity portion of the application will suffice.

If a resume is requested, keep to a maximum of one page.

“At my stage in my career, I shouldn’t have a three-page resume. So no 17 year old should be submitting a three-page resume,” Weisenburger said.

Don’t stress.

It’s a busy time of year full of every other responsibility, plus applying to the foundation of your future. Take a breath, maybe five, but don’t worry. If everything I told you wasn’t enough, burn a google or two and get some tips from all the experts out there.

Good luck, and don’t miss out on your senior year before we climb our way back to the bottom of the food chain.