Tips from a Professor About How to Rock College

Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Tina Kruse, College, Professor, College Professor, College Student, How to be a succesful college student, College Tips, College tips and tricks, What is a freshman seminar, successful first-year students, college prep, College Prep Podcast,Listen in to a college professor talk about what skills make for a successful college student!

Special guest Tina Kruse shares what she’s learned from 15 years teaching freshman seminars at a small liberal arts college, including:

  • What is a Freshman Seminar, and why might you want to look for a college that has them?
  • What do the most successful first-year students do? Conversely, what are common problems that first-year students encounter?
  • What can students do while in high school to prep for what college is “really like”? How can parents, teachers, coaches help support that?
  • What do leadership experiences in high school get you (besides an impressive addition to your college application!)?
  • And more!

Note: During this episode, Tina refers to the following resource: High Impact Educational Practices. Check it out!

Tina Kruse is an Educational Psychologist (Ph.D.) with 15 years of experience teaching undergraduates. Her research is on the benefits of youth leadership experiences, with a forthcoming book on this topic (Oxford University Press, 2018). In addition to her long-term teaching and advising at a liberal arts college (Macalester College in St. Paul MN), she also offers private, one-on-one academic coaching to students ranging from high-school to graduate school. Recently she’s been charged with starting a campus-wide plan to support her college’s students to integrate better their learning settings–helping them connect the classroom efforts with their off-campus experiences such as internships and study abroad. You can find out more about Tina’s work at www.tinakruse.com

Please Note:  In this podcast recording Tina Kruse is representing her work as described at www.tinakruse.com and is not representing Macalester College.

Listen in to Megan and Gretchen with guest speaker Tina Kruse as they discuss how to Rock College and be a successful college student!

How to Find the Theme of a Book Quickly So You Can Write That Essay Already!

Does your heart sink when you notice that the essay prompt asks you to find the “theme” or the “purpose” of the book you’re reading? Do you often think to yourself, “I have no idea!!” and then BS your way through the essay?

Well, I have a hint for you! Of course, the best line of defense is to listen during discussions in class, take good notes, and also talk to your teacher. But if none of that helps, this trick will take you the rest of the way. And who knows, maybe what feels like BS might be pretty smart stuff after all!?

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, I’ve got your back, here’s a summary:

I received an email earlier this week from a senior in high school that was having a difficult time with a prompt she received in an AP English class. She needed to find the purpose of a novel so she could write an essay about it. Another way we can look at this is: What is the theme, or meaning, of the novel?

How to Find the Theme of a Book Quickly, Gretchen Wegner, Essay Writing, Purpose, Meaning

So I wanted to give you all a little trick I use with my clients. See when I’m coaching I have very little time to help a student push through work on their essay, so I have to make quick decisions how to help a student find the theme or purpose of a book when I haven’t read it myself. As such I’ve developed a bit of a trick. I like to use a list from the Center for NonViolent Communication that’s called the Needs Inventory.

Universal Needs Inventory, The Center for Nonviolent Communication, Gretchen Wegner, How to Find the Theme of a Book, Purpose, Meaning, Essay Writing,

What I have found is that it can be really helpful to look over this list with a student and ask, “What are the universal needs that are represented by the characters in this book?” For example, is there a need for order because things are really chaotic, and the characters are trying to create order but it’s really hard. I’ve found that students can pretty easily find 1, 2, or 3 needs that are really active in the book, and then find concrete evidence why those needs are a big deal in the book and how it plays out for the characters. Then you can use this to write an essay about how the theme or purpose of the book was about “insert universal need here”.

If you found this tip useful and you’d like more tips for writing essays or understanding the theme or purpose of books, click here!

Tips for Attending a National College Fair

National College Fair, Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Student, High School, Parent, Attending a National College Fair with your high school student? We recently heard from a listener who had some questions about how to make the most of her National College Fair visit with her son. Here’s her email:

My son is attending a National College Fair coming up in mid-March. Do you have any strategies or ideas for best practices when attending a fair like this? There will be over 180 different colleges there from all over the country, so any suggestions on how to maximize time would be great.

Also, we have never attended a fair of this size before — can you give some suggestions for the role of a parent (hang back, listen, stay at the coffee shop?) and also some etiquette/protocol suggestions for the student. For example, how much time should they spend with a college booth, are their ways to be memorable for a student with a recruiter, if it’s a college they really love, should there be additional strategies to employ and should we leave anything with a recruiter like a resume or business card or is that too much?

Listen in to Megan and Gretchen discussing how to make the most of a National College Fair visit without getting overwhelmed.

A Destructive Myth That Makes Students Miserable

Hey there, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do at school? Does it feel impossible to do it all alone?

This is a video I made last summer, but it’s just as relevant as ever. I’ve seen TOO MANY of my clients buckle under the stress of thinking they have to do school by themselves. That your work doesn’t count unless you accomplish it all by yourself.

This is a destructive myth! And it’s unrealistic, too. Watch the video to hear more.

Hey there, don’t have time to watch the whole video? Don’t worry; I’ve got your back, here’s a summary.

One of the biggest and most DESTRUCTIVE myths in our education system is that people must do everything themselves. I have a friend and client who’s a grad student, and she’s doing a presentation on some research she did in a recent class. We were talking, and she said, “I’ve been discouraged, though, (she was sick the previous week) since I fell so far behind, but this morning I met with a profession on campus who gave me lots of great ideas and feedback I want to incorporate. […] I get overwhelmed at how to incorporate and communicate all my ideas. […] I’m glad this woman was a resource that I could use, though. Basically, I can’t write these alone, which is kind of discouraging, but good to know.”

She was feeling discouraged that she couldn’t do it alone, but that’s the myth. Think about this: Professors have their undergrads helping them, researchers have their teams, and authors have editors. If the professionals have assistance, why should students feel they must work alone? As I told her, you don’t have to. Don’t fall prey to this destructive myth. You can always ask your professors, or teachers, or parents, or friends for some help. You can revel in the community, and enjoy the help and insight of a team of people rooting for you as the spokesperson for your ideas.

Q&A: Math Mistakes, Gap Years, Distracted Studying & More

Gretchen Wegner | Megan Dorsey | College Prep Podcast | Q&A | Q/A | Math | GAP Years | Scholarships | Early Action school | Studying | Study | Universities | Communication |

It’s another Q&A Show! Here are the questions that we tackle in this episode:

1. Weird Mistakes in Math. My math teacher is a little confusing, which gets me doing weird things that complicate matters on simple problems. Mom thinks it could be that I’m making it complicated in my head, and I can see that, but I don’t know exactly. Thanks for the offer, and I think I’ll try it, ~ Ella, Middle School Student

2. Gap Years and Scholarships. I have been a fan for years and really appreciate your podcast. My daughter is a senior, and she was accepted to her highly selective Early Action school, so things are looking good and the pressure is off! Now we’re waiting for the other schools to respond from the regular decision round. My question is about applying for scholarships when you are planning to take a gap year. My daughter has not told any of her schools that she is planning to take a gap year, but she will ask the ones that she is deciding between if it’s OK after she has all of her acceptances. We already know that the Early Action school is a very pro-gap year and I think the others will be fine with it too, they’re all private liberal arts schools. As she’s been looking into scholarships, she has found that they all apply to students who are going to start college this fall. So, if she applied and received one of these scholarships, would she then have to tell them she’s taking a gap year and then have to re-apply for it next year? If so, there’s no point in going through that, and maybe she should just wait to apply for scholarships next year.

3. Distraction When Studying. I got distracted every time I sit to study. I need some suggestions. ~Aish

4. Sports Communication. I have heard you mention in 2 previous podcasts that you have a student you are working with that is interested in Sports Communication. My son Sam is a junior, and he is interested in Communication, sports or political journalism or broadcasting, and we are also in Texas. He is homeschooled, and we do not have a high school counselor. I would love to know any helpful information you have found for this student and what this field looks like regarding universities, especially in Texas.

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

Lesser Known Tests for College Admissions

Lesser Known Tests for College Admission | Megan Dorsey | Gretchen Wegner | ACT | SAT | College AdmissionsDid you know that there are more college admissions tests than just the ACT and SAT?

Some of these replace the ACT/SAT, and some of them are required in addition to these tests. During this episode, Megan walks us through all the lesser known college admissions tests.

She starts by reading us New York University’s unique admissions testing policy that allow students to submit other tests in place of the ACT and SAT.

We then discuss:

  • The General Education Development (GED) as an alternative to a high school diploma
  • The International Baccalaureate  and Advanced Placement tests as replacements and/or additions to the ACT and SAT
  • How to use the SAT subject tests strategically to enhance your application
  • The importance of paying attention to local state requirements for what testing is allowed,
  • How to plan in advance based on the requirements of individual colleges you might consider,
  • The “catch” when it comes to replacing ACT/SAT with these lesser known tests,
  • And more!

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

Eight Reasons to Apply to Canadian Universities

8 Reasons to Apply to Canadian Universities & 4 Reasons Not to | Megan Dorsey | Gretchen Wegner | Whitney Laughlin | College Prep PodcastDid you know that you can save more than $20K a year by going to Canadian Universities, as compared to American ones?

There are many other reasons why American students might want to consider Canadian universities. Join us as guest expert Whitney Laughlin, Ed.D maps out the reasons why you ought to consider Canada for higher education.

  • Differences and similarities between the Canadian and American university systems
  • 8+ reasons benefits to choosing a Canadian university over an American one
  • 4 reasons why you might NOT want to consider a Canadian university
  • how to get scholarships in Canada
  • and more!

The free resources we mentioned on this episode include the Canadian government’s website about their university system, an informative newspaper article about the Canadian university system, and this index of colleges and universities.

Whitney Laughlin, Ed. D is an independent college consultant who works with families to choose the perfect college for them in either Canada or the United States. Check out her website to find out more about her college and career counseling services, workshops, and nonprofit consulting work.

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

Scams to Watch for Related to College Planning & Admissions

Scams to Watch for Related to College Planning & Admissions | Megan Dorsey | Gretchen Wegner | Parents | StudentsWhen parents and students are afraid of their college prospects, they’re more susceptible to scams that prey on this fear.

In today’s climate of expensive schools that seem increasingly competitive, this fear and susceptibility can be a problem for families. During this episode, Megan helps us identify:

  • what is a scam versus what is a legitimate opportunity
  • the top five kinds of scams you should be on the look out for, and
  • questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re not spending money on a scam

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

Start Now to Plan Meaningful College Experiences

Start Now to Plan Meaningful College Experiences | Gretchen Wegner | Megan Dorsey | Teens | Parents | Summer | Colleges | Universities | Volunteer | Experiences | TravelTeens and parents! What will you do this summer to have experiences that are both meaningful and impress colleges on your applications? Looking for free and low-cost solutions?

Now is the time to start planning. We know it seems super early, but the truth is that many of these opportunities have application deadlines mid-semester. We don’t want you to miss out just because you put off planning.

Here are the 5 types of experiences that Megan suggests students and parents consider; tune into the episode to hear details about how to find each of them:

  • Subject-specific camps at colleges and universities
  • Hands on work in the field of study that interests the student most
  • “Big” volunteer experiences that meet or exceed 80 hours a week
  • World travel through organizations like your local rotary club or the state department
  • Full-time jobs that actually clock 40 hours per week

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

Are My Scores and Grades Good Enough?

Gretchen Wegner | Megan Dorsey | The College Prep Podcast | Scores | Grades | Graduation Rates | SAT | ACT | Colleges | Schools | Admissions Junior year it’s time to start compiling your list of colleges.

However, how can you tell if your grades are high enough to be considered by the schools on your list?

Megan introduces us to a cool online tool that provides a host of valuable information about what schools you qualify for and why. During this episode, she walks us through this corner of the College Board’s website, showing you how to use their data to build your college list, including:

  1.  Graduation Rates
  2. % Admitted
  3. Class Rank of Admitted Students
  4. SAT / ACT of Admitted Students
  5. (nice to know) What that school finds important in evaluating applications.

Your goal in using this website is to have an honest, fact-based idea about the admissions process at each school, as well as to build a list of colleges that will result in multiple admissions and allow you some choice about where you want to go.

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

For Every New Assignment, Do This ASAP

What’s the first thing you do when a teacher gives a new assignment — especially something big, like a paper or project?

Thanks to their work with me, many of my clients are getting good at writing the due date in the planner (on the day it’s due, by the way, NOT the day it’s assigned).

However, a few of them are still making THIS mistake, which causes them a lot of stress in the long run.

Check out this video for more details about what not to do, or read the summary below!

For those who don’t quite have the time to watch the whole video, I’ve got your back. Here’s a quick summary:

My Client’s Problem: My client almost made a horrible mistake. He was telling me about how he had an essay to write over the weekend and how it wasn’t a big deal. I asked him about the prompt and he said, “Oh I haven’t read it yet.”

Gretchen Wegner | The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying | New Assignment | New Essay

Our Solution: I made him read the prompt right there in our session together. It turns out that this assignment was not an essay, as my client had thought, but rather a short research assignment that included talking to several students on campus and taking a poll. Had he waited until the weekend before the due date to read the prompt, he may not have had the time or capability to finish this new assignment. The tip here is that for every new assignment you get, always read them when you get them. This will save you a lot of academic headaches!

Gretchen Wegner | The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying | New Assignment | New Essay

 

How to Ace the College Interview

Megan | College Prep Podcast | College Interview | Schools | Students | Interview Etiquette

This week on the College Prep Podcast with Gretchen Wegner and her co-host Megan Dorsey:

The college interview is a great way to round out your college application. However, students often make silly mistakes!

Megan provides numerous tips to help you be your best self at your interview.

Tune into this episode to explore:

  • which kinds of schools require interviews and which don’t
  • why you should always interview, if there is an option
  • how to prepare for the interview
  • what kind of research you should do about the school beforehand
  • standard interview etiquette
  • some key things not to say and do
  • how to follow up afterward

Click here to learn how to ace your college interview!

Easy Tips for Prepping for Finals Over the Holidays

Gretchen Wegner | Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying | Studying Tips | College | Finals | Holidays | Notes | Testing | Study Tools

This week on the College Prep Podcast with Gretchen Wegner and her co-host Megan Dorsey:

Thanksgiving is coming up soon, as are the winter holidays.

If you get started studying for finals now (or over the winter holidays, if your finals aren’t until the end of January), you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches later — plus, you’ll learn the information better! Today Gretchen shares:

  • How to put in more effort to studying without feeling like you’re working too hard
  • The importance of testing yourself using “spaced retrieval”, and a few simple ways to do this over the holidays
  • How to get yourself organized so you don’t waste time later finding important study tools
  • A crucial tip for how to use your notes so that you’re actually learning (rather than just faking it)
  • and more!

For more strategies about getting prepped for finals, check out Gretchen Wegner’s Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying.

Tune into the podcast by clicking here.

How to Create Your Personal Brand and Other Tips to Rock College

Megan | Gretchen Wegner | Brian Robben | Personal Brand | college | students | career

This week on the College Prep Podcast with Gretchen Wegner and her co-host Megan Dorsey:

Do you know what a “personal brand” is? Any idea why learning how to be a good storyteller is an essential 21st-century skill that students should develop in college?

Guest expert (and recent college grad) Brian Robben shares insightful tips on “how to college” such that you score excellent grades, have fun, and set yourself up to get the job of your dreams. 

Specifically, Brian, Megan, and Gretchen chat about:

  • What a personal brand is, and how to establish one as early as high school
  • The most obvious things that most students DON’T do, and how this could change their college game,
  • How to choose paid work in college that will actually help you further your career AND provide spending money, and
  • A number of other helpful ways for a student to “do college” in a way that will set them up for career success.

Brian Robben graduated summa cum laude from Miami University in 2015. While at college, he started the popular blog TakeYourSuccess.com and went on to write three Amazon bestselling books on college success, resume and interview mastery, and financial freedom. Here’s the link to his books, and here is how you can follow Brian on Instagram and Twitter. 

Click here to listen to Gretchen, Megan, and Brian over at the College Prep Podcast website.

A Handy Tool for College Students to Start the Semester

I’m excited to share with you a handy tool for college students.

This was taught to me by a real live student (shout out to Harrison!). He is a sophomore in college and interned with me over the summer.
I LOVE this tool that he makes for himself, and I wanted to share it with you all — including a tweak or two that I’d make to it.

Check out the video, and then PLEASE forward it to any college students you know could benefit from this handy little one-page organizational tool.

For more time management and study solutions for students, parents and educators, please sign up for the Anti-Boring Approach to Successful Studying Course HERE

8 Tips for When to DIY vs. Hire an Academic Professional

GRETCHENPODCAST122

Should you hire a tutor, coach or consultant? Or should you DIY for just a little longer?

During this episode, Gretchen and Megan help you decipher when it makes sense to spend the big bucks and get professional help…and when you don’t need to!

Specifically, they discuss the following 5 types of academic experts that families often like to hire, who work outside the school systems:

  • Tutors
  • Standardized test prep professionals
  • College application consultants
  • Academic life coaches
  • Mental health professionals

In considering when it makes sense to hire out, and when it makes sense to DIY a little longer, Megan and Gretchen discussed these 8 questions families should ask themselves to decide:

  1. How important (e.g. life or death!) is the situation?
  2. What resources does the school already provide, and is it enough?
  3. Is this a topic for which there is limited time and chances in order to succeed?
  4. Are your home relationships deteriorating because you’ve been doing it yourself for too long?
  5. Will it be more convenient to work with this other person, and are you willing to pay for convenience?
  6. How motivated is the student who will be receiving the support?
  7. What are your family’s finances?
  8. Would you save more in the long run if you had a professional help you get started?

Got any questions or concerns on this topic, or any other? Want them addressed on our podcast (free coaching! yes!)? Please email us at collegepreppodcast.com and tell us all about it.

“This podcast was originally on www.collegepreppodcast.com

How to Read a 400 Page Book in Two Hours, Part 2/4

Reading is hard for students!!

Especially reading books that you don’t necessarily choose for yourself…and at an assigned pace that isn’t natural for you. So it’s important to have some tricks up your sleeve for how to read large quantities, ESPECIALLY if you are a college or grad student.

This week I discuss creating a roadmap for finding important information and main ideas in books. Once you understand the structure of how an Author writes, it is easier to dive in and start reading efficiently.

Watch to find out how!

Just to recap so far:

Tip 1. Pay attention to the table of contents
Tip 2. Pay attention to “where” the Author puts their main ideas.

Stay tuned for Part 3 in this four-part series next week.

For more time management and study solutions for students, parents and educators, please sign up for the Anti-Boring Approach to Successful Studying Course HERE

8 Tips for When to DIY vs. Hire an Academic Professional

8 Tips for When to DIY vs. Hire an Academic ProfessionalShould you hire a tutor, coach or consultant? Or should you DIY for just a little longer?

During this episode, Gretchen and Megan help you decipher when it makes sense to spend the big bucks and get professional help…and when you don’t need to!

Specifically, they discuss the following 5 types of academic experts that families often like to hire, who work outside the school systems:

  • Tutors
  • Standardized test prep professionals
  • College application consultants
  • Academic life coaches
  • Mental health professionals

In considering when it makes sense to hire out, and when it makes sense to DIY a little longer, Megan and Gretchen discussed these 8 questions families should ask themselves to decide:

  1. How important (e.g. life or death!) is the situation?
  2. What resources does the school already provide, and is it enough?
  3. Is this a topic for which there is limited time and chances in order to succeed?
  4. Are your home relationships deteriorating because you’ve been doing it yourself for too long?
  5. Will it be more convenient to work with this other person, and are you willing to pay for convenience?
  6. How motivated is the student who will be receiving the support?
  7. What are your family’s finances?
  8. Would you save more in the long run if you had a professional help you get started?

Got any questions or concerns on this topic, or any other? Want them addressed on our podcast (free coaching! yes!)? Please email us at collegepreppodcast [at] gmail [dot] com and tell us all about it.

“This podcast originally ran on www.collegepreppodcast.com

How to Read a 400 Page Book in under Two Hours, Part 1/4

What if I told you it was possible to read a 400-page book in under two hours?

You wouldn’t believe me, right?

This summer I had a stack of books I wanted to catch up on, but I only had limited time. So I challenged myself to skim each of the books as quickly as possible.

In this week’s video, I walk you through the first step in how to read efficiently and effectively. You don’t have to read every word in order to walk away with the main idea, after all! Enjoy.


Stay tuned for Part 2 in this four-part series next week.

For more time management and study solutions for students, parents and educators, please sign up for the Anti-Boring Approach to Successful Studying Course HERE

Plan Now to Graduate College in Only Four Years

Screen-Shot-2016-07-07-at-12.02.59-PMWhy is it important to graduate in four years? What are some ways that you can choose your college smartly to ensure that you do graduate without spending needless extra money and time?

Guest expert Karina Dusenbury walks us through how to plan for college so well that you graduate in as little time as possible, and preferably no more than four years. 

She discusses:

  • what graduation rates are and how they are measured
  • what families should know about the graduation rates at the colleges they are considering
  • factors that impact students’ ability to graduate in four years
  • tips for choosing schools so that you maximize your ability to graduate in four years

To download Karina’s additional tips, go to www.maximizecollege.com/collegeprep.

Karina Dusenbury spent nearly 15 years in higher education helping students achieve their college goals. Along the way, she became all too familiar with the obstacles students encounter, which prevent them from graduating on-time and being fully prepared to enter the workplace. She founded Maximize College to help families refocus their college planning efforts so that students are more likely to get what they expect from the time and money they investment in college. Karina’s professional background includes positions in academic advising, career counseling, leadership development, and college admissions. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, a master’s degree in College Student Development from the University of Iowa, and a doctoral degree in higher education administration from North Carolina State University.