Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Roommate survival guide: Part 1

Posted: December 28, 2012 by UI Upward Bound in Uncategorized

So I thought today we could depart from the usual academic topics and instead talk about roommates. It’s near the end of the year, you are probably on Christmas break and don’t necessarily want to think about school right now (although quick plug: FAFSA filing starts January 1st!) Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about roommates.

If you plan on going to college, chances are you will have a roommate at some point. Maybe you will luck out and be matched with that perfect roomie, the Bert to your Ernie, the Lennon to your McCartney (pre-Yoko of course), your new best friend who never makes messes or uses your toothpaste or starts hoarding pizza boxes.


Now, I’m no expert, but the number of people I knew in college who had that “perfect” experience were less than two. One year I got stuck with a girl who insisted upon playing her bassoon at all hours of the night. She claimed that it was a “creative time” for her, which may have been true, but was still highly inconsiderate. A friend had a roommate who consistently ate all of the food in the house, regardless of who purchased said food, and then lied and hid the evidence (once even going so far as to claim that a “burglar must have broken into the house and eaten all of the groceries!”). That’s the funny thing about roommates — most people have a story to tell about a terrible one, but almost no one is able to say “all of my college roommates were awesome and not weird or inconsiderate at all!”

Weirdos and food burglars aside, let’s talk about some ways you can deal with roommates and prepare yourself for that time when you might be sharing living quarters with a stranger. I thought for the next few entries, we might do a survival guide about how to prepare yourself in advance for that weirdo who leaves their floss on the floor or dances to Ke$ha every morning at 5 am.


Today’s topic is: COMMUNICATION

For the love of Pete, TALK to the person you live with. There is nothing more awkward or horrible than sharing a room with someone you never talk to the entire year. Most roommate issues arise from a lack of direct communication. This is totally natural, because most people want to avoid confrontation with their roommates.

Here’s how it usually starts: your roommate is sitting on your armchair, eating a scrumptious burrito,  and some grease drips out and onto the cushion. You notice but say nothing, because hey, that chair was old anyway. Your roommate thinks since you didn’t object, you might be okay with it and doesn’t clean up the grease spot. The next week, the same things happens, and this time they leave the wrapper on your chair. Again, to keep the peace, you don’t say anything and throw the wrapper away yourself. Cut to three months later, your roommate has claimed your armchair as their own personal garbage pile. Your grandma gave you that chair! You are furious. You go on Facebook and write a bitter diatribe against your roommate, listing their flaws and telling an exaggerated version of the “grease stain story.” Your roommate sees this and is dumbfounded — why didn’t you ever say anything? Why did they have to find out this way? Now neither of you will speak to each other, and have a very uncomfortable living situation; far more uncomfortable than it would have been to initially confront them about the stain on your chair.


So how do we avoid this? Laying out ground rules when you first begin living with your roommates goes a long way. While it may seem lame to create a contract with your roommate(s), this one conversation at the beginning of the year can lay the foundation for fewer misunderstandings for the rest of the time you live together. The following is adapted from The Naked Roommate’s First Year Survival Workbook.

The Uncomfortable Clause

If you do something that makes me uncomfortable or irritated, I must tell you within 24 – 48 hours or I will NOT be allowed to tell you. If I do something that makes you uncomfortable or irritated, you must tell me within 24 – 48 hours. If neither roommate expresses him/herself within this timeframe, we are NOT allowed to talk to ANYONE about the problem (this includes “the internet”). We all promise not to fight, but we will listen, respect each others’ opinions, and try to get along.

Some common issues include (but are not limited to):

  • Being too loud
  • Having friends over
  • Sharing food
  • Body odor/hygiene
  • PDAs with boy/girlfriend in room
  • Being messy (cluttered)
  • Being dirty (moldy food, not doing dishes)
  • Getting up too early/staying up too late
  • Wearing your roommate’s clothes
  • Using roommate’s things without asking first
  • Not respecting your roommate’s belongings
  • Your roommates background, political views, values, religion, etc.
  • ??

If you address issues in a timely manner with your roommate, chances are you will be able to resolve it and get on with your lives, rather than let it fester and bother you for months.


If you have any tips for getting along with roommates, or ways you have successfully resolved conflict in the past, please feel free to leave a comment!





By Michelle King

Most of the college application process is pretty cut and dry. Mom’s name? Easy. Date of SAT scores? Simple. Any additional information you’d like to add? Um, what? For many pre-collegiettes, this can be the trickiest part of the application process. If you do fill it out, will your college even look at it? Will they be annoyed? How much can you fill out? If you don’t fill it out, will you look uncreative and lazy? What if your first choice college doesn’t have an additional information section on its application? Can you still send something? Breathe easy, pre-collegiettes. Her Campus is here to help you figure out what to attach (and what not to attach) to that confusing little section.

additional info section common app, common application, additional info app

DON’T Send Additional Information Just Because There’s a Section to Do So:
If you don’t have something you really feel your college should see, don’t just send anything. “Colleges don’t want to feel like you’re wasting their time and just including additional information for the sake of including additional information,” says Karen Siegel, a college counselor in South Florida. “It’s like when you’re assigned a four page paper and wind up writing six just because you want to impress the teacher. Ask yourself, ‘What does this add to my application that isn’t somewhere in there already?’ If you can’t come up with an answer immediately, don’t include it.”

DO Send Additional Information Even If There Isn’t a Place To Do So — But Ask First:
The Common Application has a place for Additional Information, but what if your school isn’t on The Common App? Can you still send the op-ed you wrote for your town’s paper? Yes – just ask first. Siegel suggest calling up the admissions office and asking if they accept additional information. If they say no, don’t push, but if they say yes, ask where it should be sent and how it should be packaged. If you’re sending a DVD, clarify that this is okay. You wouldn’t want to send the documentary you made last year only to have it chucked in the garbage.

girl holding books, common application, additional info section, additional info section common app

DO Send Something Related to Your Area of Interest:
“If you know what your intended major is, you can include something related to that, especially if it’s a major in the arts,” says Siegel. “If you’re a journalism major, include your three best clips. If you plan on studying photography, include your three best photos. You can even attach a resume if there wasn’t already a place to do so. Additional information is not the same as additional essay. Don’t write three pages about why you love to take pictures.” You can use the personal essay section of the application for that. Siegel stresses that you don’t need to send your whole repertoire. The admissions staff is more likely to look at one article you wrote that you’re really proud of, rather than 20 articles you wrote for your school’s paper.

DO Show Your Personality:
If you have no idea what you want to major in yet, don’t stress. You can send something that shows how multi-faceted you are. When applying to Emerson College, Alyssa Altman, now a junior marketing major, felt that her application didn’t show all the sides of her personality. “In high school, I was president of my school’s Operation Smile Club and designed a t-shirt that was printed and distributed nationally. I sent in one of the shirts and included information about how much they raised and how we sold them,” says Alyssa. “I was hoping Emerson would see that I had more to me than what appeared.” Achievements in a club you’re active in or a community service group you work with are great to include. They show your personality and areas of interest, while still keeping your application professional. Siegel suggests calling your school before you send something tangible and making sure it’s okay. Every school has a different policy.

common app, common application, common application additional info

DON’T Send Something Completely From Left Field:
Stephanie, a junior at the University of Florida, sent her first choice college a mix CD of all her favorite songs when she was as senior. “I don’t necessarily think that’s why they rejected me, but it probably didn’t help my case,” says Miller. “In retrospect, it made me look ditzy and unfocused. Why was I making a mix instead of working? It felt random and colleges want focused students.” You want to show your college your personality in your application and display what would make you a unique addition to their school, but remember to stay professional. Listing your favorite movies or sending them your childhood stuffed animal might catch their eye — but not in the way you want. Use the additional information section to show off your talents, not your awesome taste in music (unless you are a professional DJ).

DO Explain Any Mishaps in Your Transcript:
College Confidential, a college admissions counseling company founded in 2001, suggests, “The additional information section can be a handy, catch-all place to explain the sorts of things that the rest of the forms may not cover. Are there irregularities on your transcript, such as a repeated class–or a skipped one–that require clarification? Did your parents go through a nasty divorce that torpedoed your sophomore grades? The additional information space might be just the spot to provide insight into such anomalies.” But be careful! According to Siegel, it’s easy to read like a pity party when you start talking about why you got a C in Spanish class sophomore year. “If you’re going to explain a poor grade or a dropped class, make sure you have a real reason,” she says, who clarifies by saying, “And ‘the teacher didn’t like me’ is not a real reason.” She suggests only doing so for major, red flag issues — a C plus does not need an explanation, but repeating a year of school? That might need some explaining. When Elizabeth’s* dad died her freshman year of high school, her grades plummeted and she was forced to redo freshman year. “My dad’s death wasn’t something I wanted to talk about for my personal essay, but I wanted to explain why I had to redo freshman year,” says Elizabeth, who now studies at Fordham. “I wrote two paragraphs explaining how I felt repeating freshman year benefited me.” If you want to explain something in your transcript, just do so in a two to three paragraphs and explain what you learned from the situation.

Karen Siegel, College Counselor
College women nationwide
College Board:
College Confidential:


How to Prepare for Admission Tests

Posted: November 8, 2012 by UI Upward Bound in Uncategorized

If you’ve started thinking about college, you’ve probably heard about admission tests, such as the SAT and the ACT. Colleges use scores from these tests to help them make admission decisions. So it makes sense to plan to do your best on the exam. Here are some tips to help you do that.

The Best Way to Prepare

The best way to prepare for an admission test is to work hard both inside and outside the classroom. Take challenging courses, study hard, and read and write as much as you can.

Practive Tips

You can take some simple, smart steps to help you put your best foot forward.

Know what to expect. Being familiar with the test’s format is the single best way to prepare for that test. Go to the testing organization’s website or check out books to get familiar with the various test sections and the instructions for each part. You’ll feel more confident if you know the test format beforehand, and you can save valuable time during the exam.

Take preliminary tests. The organizations that offer the SAT and the ACT also offer tests that are meant to be taken in sophomore or junior year. The PSAT/NMSQT is available as practice for the SAT, and PLAN is available as practice for the ACT. These preliminary, or introductory, tests make great practice tests because they have the same formats and question types as the admission tests.

Take practice exams — for free or at low cost. The good news is you don’t need to spend a lot of money on test-prep courses. In fact, studies show that high-cost test preparation gets most students little in terms of results. You can find free practice exams on the SAT and ACT websites and in study guides from the test makers in the library, bookstores or your counselor’s office. These practice exams can help you discover your strengths and weaknesses and learn to manage your time wisely during the test.

See what areas need work. When you get the score from your practice test, pay attention to the types of questions that gave you trouble and then focus on those areas as you prepare. You can find advice and practice doing different types of questions on the test makers’ websites. But remember, the best way to prepare for the test is to study hard and do well in your classes. So don’t let practicing for admission tests interfere with your course work.

Check your timing. Be sure to time yourself while you are completing practice exams so you can experience real test-day conditions. Admission tests are strictly timed, and their timing is different from regular high school tests. If you find you finished early and got easy questions wrong, slow down and read questions more thoroughly. If you didn’t finish in time, check out the test-taking tips and study aids on the SAT or ACT website or ask your school counselor or a teacher for help.

Last-Minute Tips

Taking the following steps will help you arrive on time and stay alert during the test.

Get a good night’s sleep before the exam. Set out your admission ticket, identification, acceptable calculator, No. 2 pencils and erasers before going to bed. Set your alarm so you wake early enough to have time for a good breakfast.

Know where your test center is located. Print out and review directions in advance. Arrive at the test center early. Leave extra time to get there in case you run into delays.

Bring a snack. Bring something handy to eat during breaks so you can stay focused and sharp.

How to Write a College Admission Essay

Posted: November 8, 2012 by UI Upward Bound in Uncategorized

Even the most gifted student can look at the college admission essay as a daunting challenge.  A blank page, a lame prompt and less than 500 words not only to describe your inner most self, but more importantly, to sell yourself to an admissions staff whom you will probably never meet.  Thanks to the growing popularity of the common application, you may need only pen a single essay.  However, that also means you only have one shot to get it right.  No pressure at all, right?  Fear not. Even though more than 300 U.S. colleges now accept the common app, that represents less than 10% of schools and even those using it may still include supplements to get a look at the real you.


  1. Follow their directions.  If they say 500 words, don’t write 1,000; if they ask you to write about an inspiring historical figure, do not write about your first grade teacher.
  2. Choose your passion.  Whether you are provided with a prompt or expected to shoot from the hip, it is easier and more natural to write from your heart rather than your head.  Write about what really matters to you and your inner self will shine through.
  3. Be accurate and honest.  If you’re including facts and figures, make certain they are correct.  If you say you scaled Mt. Everest, be prepared to offer them a handful of snow.
  4. Show, don’t tell.  This is the same advice your writing teachers have been giving you for years.  Rather than tell them that you’re a local hero because you pushed a baby out of onrushing traffic, describe the scene, the sounds, the smells.  Paint a picture with your words.
  5. Write to the best of your ability, not someone else’s.  As a high school senior, you should have a good command of sentence structure, grammar and vocabulary, but even if this is your weakness, do not try to overcompensate.  Using  words that aren’t a natural fit to who you are will be disingenuous, and worse, may lead the reader to believe these new words belong to  someone else.
  6. Do not oversell.  There’s a line between confidence and cockiness and you need to err on the side of humility.  Rely on your grades, test scores, class rank and activities to boast, not your essay.
  7. Be funny.  If you’ve always been the class clown, here’s your chance to reflect that all those paths to the principal’s office were leading you somewhere else.  Be careful.  Humor works if you’re good at it, but sarcasm and shock value have no place in a college essay.
  8. Take a chance.  Be different.  It may sound risky, but taking a chance can truly separate your essay from the thousands the admissions personnel must read.  What can you do to make yours stand out?
  9. Don’t be quirky. While you want to stand out you do not want to use gimmicks–no funny fonts, colored paper, included gifts.
  10. Rewrite it as many times as necessary.  Edit and re-edit.  Have someone read it over and check for grammar and punctuation.



By Linda Emma, eHow Contributor

Money, Money, Money

Posted: September 27, 2012 by UI Upward Bound in Uncategorized

Scholarships are a form of financial aid that student apply for and do not have to repay. Scholarships are awarded by public and private organizations as well as specific colleges. It is important for students to thoroughly research the institution or organization providing the scholarship and make sure that they are safe with their personal information. Students and families should never pay to apply for a scholarship or to receive scholarship information.

How do I search for scholarships? 

There are many scholarship databases available online and in the community. It is very important that students be smart with their personal information. If you need help with scholarship information or applications, work with your high school counselor to get connected to the right resources.

Start the scholarship search process by completing a profile at each one of these scholarship databases:

Finding the Right College

Size, location, academic focus, campus life, public vs. private, in-state vs. out-of-state are just a few characteristics which should be considered when selecting a college. There is a college out there for everyone; it just takes time to find the best fit for you. Starting the college search process can begin at any time during high school. Most students begin researching college options during junior year. To explore your college choices and find the right college for you, visit these web sites to search the more than 4,000 options out there.

UBer’s … Take the pledge!!!

Posted: September 27, 2012 by UI Upward Bound in College Info, From UB Staff, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized