How To Amp Up Your College Resume

If you are prepping your college resume for college admissions, then you are already aware of the importance of GPA and standardized tests. But what else do you put on your resume to make you stand out from the crowd? Here are some items that will amp up your college resume!

Awards and Achievements
Colleges are looking for students who are driven, so they usually ask for any awards and achievements. That means things like Dean’s List and Honor Society. Don’t have many awards? Try looking for events in the field you are interested in. Perhaps it’s time to take the plunge in the school science fair! Or, if you are interested in English, you might just win first place in a district-wide writing competition. These are the sort of accolades that show your interests and make you stand out.

Clubs and Organizations
This is a huge one! Colleges want to know that you are much more than a straight-A student. They want to know that you are involved in extracurriculars at school and outside of school as well! Things like Yearbook and Student Council are great organizations that show experience in leadership! Perhaps you are involved in your community theater or in a youth program at your local church? You can even start your own organization at school or consider running leadership within the clubs you are already a part of. Keep in mind that it isn’t about the number of clubs you are involved with. It is more important that the things you’ve done within the club have been significant.

Community Service deserves its own part in this section. A great extracurricular, community service doesn’t only teach involvement and leadership, but also allows you to give back to the community you live in. Want to do something outside of the box? Start your own organization or community initiative! Schools want to see that you are a game changer and can make a difference on your own, so creating something brand new that helps your community is sure to impress and also do a lot of good!

Skills and Job Experience
It’s a huge plus to include any special skills and/or work experience you might have. But why is this important? If you maintained a high GPA and also had a part time job, this shows colleges that you are someone who can prioritize, multitask, and work well under pressure. You already have job experience to put on a resume which could help you get a work-study job at college. Perhaps you are interested in joining the nursing program? Make sure to add that you are certified in CPR or CNA (if you have this certification, of course). This shows your interest in the field you are applying for and that you have gotten certifications on your own. Note: Always have a teacher or respected friend do a grammar and spell check before submitting your resume.

There are so many ways to amp up your college resume! Whether you finally decide to run for student body president or start your own community service club, your resume can make you stand out, and also allows you to grow as a future college student!

How To Start Planning for College Applications

The college application process can feel really overwhelming! Especially if you are applying to multiple schools with different requirements for admissions. So, how do you get organized and where do you begin? Here is a simplified list that will get you started!

  1. Create your School List
    Think about how far away you would be comfortable going to college. How large of a campus population do you prefer? Would you like to be close to a large metropolitan area?  Do they have the major you are considering? How far away is each college? Are you interested in attending state colleges or private ones? (Keep in mind that the price of a state school in another state might be twice as expensive as attending a state school within your own state.) The price of a private college does not differ based on your state of residence. Do the net price calculator for the schools you are interested in. (Remember that you will need one of your parents to help with this and include their tax information and W-2 forms.) Research application requirements. Create a spreadsheet that notes essay requirements. Do they require additional essays beyond the 650 word essay? How many recommendation letters do they require and from whom? Note the regular application dates and early admission dates too. Regularly consult your spreadsheet so that you can meet all of the upcoming deadlines.
  2. Interests, Hobbies, and Service
    It’s important to start thinking about your interests. This will help you decide on a school based on the field of study you are interested in. Schools also like to know about your interests, hobbies and extra curriculars, so it is important to capture these items on a resume. Do you participate in any clubs? Do you hold an officer position in any organizations? Include that in your reference list and add dates too! Make sure to also record information about community service with service dates and titles as well. Describe what is meaningful about these pursuits.
  3. Essays About You
    Most colleges require essays as part of their admissions, so it is important to start putting together some writing that you can use as a reference for college admissions essays. Google the Common Application prompts and begin brainstorming several drafts. This way, when you have the official prompts for the colleges to which you are applying, you already have some samples to pull from.
  4. Teacher Recommendations
    It’s a good idea to start thinking about the subjects you enjoy most. Consider the teachers who have taught you these subjects and determine who you want to ask to write you a teacher recommendation for your college applications. You need to give teachers at least two weeks notice, so be sure to factor that into your application deadline calendar. Provide your teachers with a sheet of information about you. Share your resume and talk with them about your goals. Continue to establish a strong connection with these teachers.
  5. Financial Aid Information
    Schools will require quite a bit of information for the financial side of the college application. You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as early as possible. It is typically available for you to fill out Oct. 1st of your senior year. For a sneak peek of the amount of aid you might qualify for, you can sit with your parent and fill out the FAFSA before your senior year. This does not officially submit your information, but it gives you a good ballpark figure upon which to base your estimates of financial aid. 
  6. ACT / SAT
    In Rogers, AR students take the ACT test for free in February of their Junior year. Go to ACT Academy several months before and practice online. You can also look for study guides from your local or school library. If you know colleges to which you plan to apply, you should get the college code and have it available so that you can have your results sent there. 
  7. Create a Calendar
    Once you have taken note of application due dates, ACT / SAT test dates, and all other dates in between, put it all together in a personal calendar for your planning. This will keep you organized and on track for your admissions process.

The planning process for college admissions doesn’t have to be anxiety-inducing if you get organized ahead of time! Come up with a plan and do a little every day so you can stay on top of it.  It’s never too early to start, and preparing for the process can also help you decide on your college path!

College Road Trips: New England

Ever wanted to visit the New England area? Have you considered going to school there? With its varied nature and vast colonial history, New England is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the U.S. 

Not only does it offer panoramic mountain views and historical insight to the birthplace of America, but New England is also home to some top schools that you won’t want to miss!

Check out our itinerary for a College Visit Road Trip to New England!

Dartmouth College | Hanover, New Hampshire
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #12

We start our trip at Dartmouth College, a private institution located in rural Hanover. Considered much more than just an academic hub, students say it is an immensely diverse institution. Even the Greek system, which is the main source of social activity, is described by one student as having “a very large percentage of students involved which makes the Greek houses quite diverse and representative of the student body as a whole.”
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Dartmouth College

Williams College | Williamstown, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #1

A little over two hours heading north, you will come across Williams College. This private institution sits at the foot of Mount Greylock and the school even has a Mountain Day in October where students hike the mountain. Recognized as the first in the U.S. to wear caps and gowns at graduation in 1887, Williams College has popular majors in English Language and Literature, Mathematics, and Economics.  
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Williams College

Amherst College | Amherst, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #2

Next, drive a little over an hour to Amherst College. Known as the “singing college” due to its numerous a capella groups, Amherst is an academically demanding school with an open curriculum (which eliminates core requirements). Located in a small town, the area is geared towards college students and there are endless opportunities for campus involvement. You can also check out the University of Massachusetts at Amherst!
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Amherst College

Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Worcester, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #59

About an hour away from Amherst college is Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Considered a “close-knit private school grounded in scientific education,” WPI is a highly hands-on research university that is reputable amongst engineers. Classes here run in a quarter system  which forces faculty to only teach the most important material and student grading system encourages cooperation instead of cut-throat competition.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to WPI

Harvard University | Cambridge, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #2

The next school on our road trip needs no introduction. About an hour away is the famous Harvard University. Located just outside of Boston, so students are a skip away from big city activities, Harvard is recognized for its top-ranked business school, medical school, and law school (to name a few). Renown for being very selective of its students, you will find top academics and a hub for the country’s most promising youth.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Harvard University

MIT | Cambridge, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #3

Just a five minute car ride from Harvard University is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (or MIT as it is most commonly known). MIT focuses on scientific and technological research with a great emphasis on problem solving and “how to think.” Undergrads also have incredible research opportunities with some of the nation’s leading professors.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to MIT

Brown University | Providence, Rhode Island
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #14

An hour away from MIT is Brown University. Emma Watson’s Alma Mater, Brown provides an Open curriculum which means students take the responsibility of designing their own courses of study. A lot of students, Watson included, decide on this university because it doesn’t have general requirements and allows students to build their own “academic journey.”
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Brown University

Yale University | New Haven, Connecticut
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #3

On the last stop on this road trip, you will drive almost two hours to New Haven, Connecticut and visit the reputable Yale University. Known as a prominent research university, Yale places “unparalleled focus on undergraduate education” and they require all professors to teach at least one undergraduate course each year. Students also comment on the seemingly endless resources they are given for learning in and out of the classroom.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Yale University

From beautiful countryside to an impressive menu of top schools, New England is a perfect destination for nature, sightseeing, and college touring!

College Road Trips: Upper Midwest

Looking to do a road trip this summer? Wanting to knock out some college tours as well? We got the perfect trip figured out for you! 

Take the scenic route through the upper midwest and tour some of the finest schools in the area!

Washington University | St. Louis, Missouri
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #19

Our first stop is this private institution known for its range of academic fields. In the heart of a sports-fan city, Wash U offers a suburban setting and is also home to the distinguished Kemper Art Museum, which holds works by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock. Known for its location next to well-respected medical facilities, Wash U can be a great choice for students interested in medicine.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Washington University

University of Chicago | Chicago, Illinois
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #3

Next, drive 4.5 hours to the windy city and tour the University of Chicago. Another private institution, this university is also considered a research institution with popular majors in Biological Sciences, Mathematics, and Economics. Located in the urban Hyde Park area, this used to be former President Barack Obama’s home where he also taught at the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to University of Chicago

Northwestern University | Evanston, Illinois
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #10

Forty-two minutes away is another great institution. Northwestern University is a private school that focuses on experimental learning through their co-op programs. Through these programs, students “alternate rigorous classes with full-time work in career-related jobs for six months.” Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, Northwestern is also home to an observatory, Alice Millar Chapel, and the beautiful Shakespeare Garden.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Northwestern University

Grinnell College | Grinnell, Iowa
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #11

Finally, just under 5 hours heading west, is Grinnell College. This private institution stresses self-governance and the ‘“very supportive” student body has the power to make change on campus. Set in a rural 120 acres, Grinnell still maintains a busy social scene with weekly events and cultural activities. This school also has high ranks for number of students who join the Peace Corps.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Grinnell College

This road trip is going to be epic! With a variety of schools and cityscapes, this is a one-of-a-kind trip that will give you a varied feel of campuses. So, get your bags packed, your visits booked, and your camera ready for an amazing College Road Trip!

College Road Trips: Tennessee

Looking to visit some colleges during your summer break? The Scholar Blog has broken down the logistics so you can hop straight on the road!

Check out some of the best schools of the south on this quick Tennessee trip!

Hendrix College | Conway, Arkansas  
U.S. News and World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #76

First on our list is Hendrix College, which we know isn’t in Tennessee, but, since it’s on the way, you can’t miss the opportunity to tour this private liberal arts college. Just down the street from Conway’s historic downtown area, Hendrix is also among the Colleges That Change Lives list.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Hendrix College

Rhodes College | Memphis,Tennessee
U.S. News and World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #51

Next, drive 2.5 hours to Memphis and tour this small, private liberal arts college. Also on the list of Colleges That Change Lives, Rhodes is recognized as a perfect location for experimental learning. With fortune 500 companies and other reputable institutions just down the street, Rhodes is also in the center of an internship opportunity hub.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Rhodes College

Vanderbilt University | Nashville, Tennessee
U.S. News and World Report “Best National Universities”  #14

After a 3hr drive from Rhodes College, you will reach the urban heart of Nashville and along with it, the “globally renowned research university” established by “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. Located just down the street from the famed music scene the city is known for, Vanderbilt students have often stated that the school offers a unique social and academic life balance.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Vanderbilt University

Sewanee – The University of The South | Sewanee, Tennessee
U.S. News and World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #49

Just 1.5 hours away is the final stop of this college road trip. Sewanee–University of the South is considered, among its students, an academically demanding school where “you must work hard to earn an A”. Popular majors they are known for include Economics, English Language and Literature, and Psychology; but it’s not always just about the grades. Set in rural Tennessee, this college sits on 13,000 acres, known as the Domain, and offers opportunities for caving, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to The University of The South

This summer is the perfect time to visit some colleges on your list, or even schools you haven’t heard of! Get some friends together, set up some visits, and hit the road to some amazing schools!

Start An Initiative

If you’ve been researching top school admissions, then you have probably noticed that top schools don’t just look at GPA and ACT scores. They want students that make a difference. But what does that mean exactly? That means they are looking for students that go outside of their comfort zone to help others. Whether it’s their fellow students, school, or community, they are looking for students that will be the next game-changers.

So, how do you become one of these students? You start thinking outside the box and take action!

One of the ways to get an idea for an initiative is to find out about a problem that really interests you. As an example, consider the #PlanetOrPlastic movement.

In the May 2019 Issue of National Geographic, Editor-in-Chief, Susan Goldberg, wrote about the growing impact of plastics in our oceans. In her article, Oceans of Debris, she writes:

“Most of us won’t see microplastics’ harm at the level that scientists do. But with about nine million tons of visible plastic waste washing into oceans each year, we see clearly how it’s hurting turtles, seabirds, whales, and many other species. Isn’t that reason enough to join the global effort to reduce plastic waste?”

Goldberg’s closing remark makes you stop and think. How many times a week do you alone go through disposable plastics? How many times a year? And now multiply that by the amount of people residing in your city alone. When you are impacted by a movement like this, what is your initial reaction? “I need to learn more!” And “I want to be a part of the solution!”

So you do the research. You learn more about plastic waste and take the pledge to reduce it at . You call up your friends so that they know how to do it too. Maybe you purchase a reusable shopping bag or a portable metal straw and start making the decision to go as plastic-free as possible, but is that enough?

It’s time to take action and to do that you have to come up with a plan! How can you, your friends, even your school and community get involved? Here are some initiative ideas:

  • Start a local beach clean up
    • Get some friends together and as you grow your group, make a competition out of it. The group who picks up the most trash wins!
  • Plastic-free at school
  • Get together with friends, teachers, or even meet with the school principal and talk about how you can reduce disposable plastics at your school.
  • Create other items out of plastic waste
    • Turn trash into art! Bring this idea to your art teacher and find ways to reuse trash. Perhaps you can make jewelry out of plastic straws, sell them, and donate the funds to research for the #PlanetOrPlastic movement.
  • Spearhead the #PlanetOrPlastic pledge at your school. Educate others and lead the initiative by having students sign up to take the pledge to not use single-use plastics.

There are limitless options when you consider starting an initiative that can produce a positive impact for your community. You just need to find what you are passionate about and run with it! Do you love writing, but can’t seem to find a creative writing class? Start a club and get other kids involved. Perhaps you show your interests to your principal and get a class started. Live somewhere more rural where it’s not as easy to get to your local library? Read about the Little Free Library Movement and come up with a plan to get one in your neighborhood.

It all starts with the first step of finding out about the problem, thinking about how to help, and acting on it. Remember, big change starts with small steps. Perhaps we will be reading about you next on National Geographic!

Community Service Options for RPS Students

You’ve probably heard about community service in the past, but have you ever stopped and asked, “Well, what exactly is community service?” Community service is work done by a person or group to help others and better the community. This is done for free and it involves giving up your time and effort for a helpful cause.

Perhaps you’ve heard of community service because it is a requirement for an extracurricular or a scholarship, but community service can be so much more to you than just fulfilling a prerequisite on a form. It is a way to give back to others and to learn more about the people in your community. It helps your personal growth and also helps you develop some work experience for future jobs and internships.

It is really important that you make a long-term commitment to an organization. This allows others to be able to depend on you and know that you will sustain your involvement. They can count on you because of your dedication. The more time you give will likely make the work more meaningful for you, as well.

Here are some community service options for Rogers Public Schools Students:

Arkansas Public Theatre
Ever been interested in theatre production? Volunteering at Arkansas Public Theatre is a great way to get involved in the arts. Whether it’s as a stagehand, usher, or the star of the show, giving your time for the arts can help bring culture to the community and support local talent.

Rogers Animal Services
Are you an animal lover? The Rogers Animal Services always needs an extra hand at the local shelter. Donate your time by helping clean kennels, walk dogs, and offer love to the pets that need homes.

Samaritan Cafe
The Samaritan Cafe is much more than a “soup kitchen”. Their main focus is treating everyone as guests and making them feel like they are having a meal in their own home. Volunteers are always needed to help prepare food and serve it in a loving way that follows their mission.

Saving Grace
Saving Grace is an organization that offers a transitional housing program for young women. You can contribute by offering mentorship, answering phones, or working as cleaning crew.

Rogers Public Library
Are you a book lover? Contribute at the Rogers Public Library by offering your time in the children’s and teen section. Whether it’s putting books back on the shelves or recommending one of your favorites, you can share your love of books to fellow patrons of the library.

Habitat for Humanity of Benton County
If you’ve heard of Habitat for Humanity, then you know they help build homes to eliminate poverty housing. Donate your time or find ways to score materials for upcoming projects for this organization.

More Opportunities:
Check out these other sites that list more opportunities and ideas for community service.

There are many community service needs in Rogers that require volunteers. Be proactive and stop in or start calling the organizations that interest you and ask them how you can help. Then, get ready to make new friends, get some work experience, and make a difference. All it takes is a bit of your time and a lot of heart.