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College

  • College, Confidence, Dating, GirlSpring.com, Goals, Mental Health

    From Girl to Woman: 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I was 20

    There was something significant about the year that I turned 20 in which a lot of things clicked and finally made sense. I realized that I actually don’t know everything, and things could have gone a bit easier for me had I listened to those with my best interests in mind. Learning from one’s mistakes is a big part of life, which is why I have made a list of 10 lessons that I have already learned for you:

    !. It is O.K. to ask for what you believe that you deserve.

    It is easy to get taken advantage of when you are young and naïve. If you have a feeling that you are being treated unfairly, speak up. Whether it is by a teacher, parent, boss, friends or whoever, do not hesitate to calmly say, “I feel like I am receiving the recognition or treatment that I deserve, and here are the reasons why.” People are not always going to have your feelings or interests in mind, so do not be afraid to remind them to be considerate of you.

    2. What is on your resume is important.

    Now, colleges definitely take your GPA and standardized test scores into consideration during the application process, but your resume is what makes you stand out from the thousands of other kids that are just as much or more qualified as you are. You will have a resume that will be continuously updated for the rest of your working life. Therefore, do not hesitate to start getting involved and take advantage of the activities your school and community provide. Even if you spend your free time working, that reflects your time commitment and work ethic on your resume. College admission and jobs want to see how YOU utilize your talents and time other than schoolwork.

    3. Take care of your vehicle. Just do it.

    This may seem like a lame piece of advice, and hopefully you will not stop reading after this, but if you own a car… please take care of it. Keep up with scheduled oil changes and know what kind of gas your car uses. Little things like that will keep your car running for much longer and save you a lot of money and tears. I destroyed the transmission on my first car because I did not know that diesel fuel was only for special vehicles like semi-trucks. It was expensive and embarrassing.

    You are so lucky to even be able to own a vehicle as a teenager, so do not take it for granted ladies.

    4. Save money… seriously.

    What is obvious to some people is a lesson for the rest of us. I may have had a job of some sort since I was 16 years old, but I never saved a dime of those paychecks. Understanding monetary value came late for me, and for years I would just spend my money on every whim without thinking about how it could benefit me in the future. People are not lying when they say hindsight is 20/20. In fact, go to a bank as soon as you can and open a savings account. It takes about 20 minutes to open one and you can begin by saving 25% of every check or allowance you receive. You will thank yourself one day.

    5. Friends and family are more important than boyfriends/girlfriends. Period.

    Your first love is a great thing. Whether or not you have your first love interest during your teenage years, it is critical to remember what is actually important. Your first serious boyfriend/girlfriend/love interest is probably not going to last. Anything can happen, and who will you turn to when things go sour and you have neglected everyone else important in your life? Friends and family are the most consistent forms of relationships, even if the people who fill those roles change. Hopefully, you will always have a support system, but you are not always going to have a significant other.

    6.  Remember that you are not the center of the universe.

    Yes, it is necessary to set goals and strive towards whatever form of self-actualization you desire for yourself. Still, don’t forget that you are sharing this planet with billions of other people. Being courteous and kind to others will always set you apart from the masses. Remind yourself to ask other people how they are doing and make an effort to remember names. Send a thank you note after birthdays or holidays. Show people that you care.

    7. Don’t forget about personal hygiene please.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to avoid those who knock me off of my feet every time I’m within a 3-foot radius of them. Dirty fingernails, stinky sweat and evil breath should disappear as soon as playground days are over. There is just simply no excuse anymore unless you are being active or doing manual labor. Cleaning yourself up when you go in public is just good practice. If I am too lazy to shower (which happens more than I would like to admit) I spray in some dry shampoo in my hair, put deodorant on, brush my teeth and spritz on some perfume before walking out of the door.

    8. Now is better than later when it comes to failure.

    It is inevitable that you are going to make mistakes and experience failure. However, the way you go about these experiences is what determines self-improvement. Very few people are just handed success and happiness, and adolescence is the best time to start figuring out what you are able to do. It will benefit you more in the future if you go ahead and discover your limitations and talents. Go try out for the debate team. Who knows- maybe you are a natural-born lawyer, or maybe your talents lie elsewhere.

    9. Don’t sweat the small stuff- life is all about ups and downs.

    Every person on this planet has problems that are relevant to their own circumstances and individualism. However, try not to dwell too much on the negative. Life is supposed to suck sometimes, because that is what makes it feel so great when things are actually going right. A wise Delta agent once approached me while I was crying at the airport after a terrible day and said that “life likes to kick you in the butt one day so you can wake up stronger the next”. Then she proceeded to waive my bag fee. Even small acts of kindness like that show that good still exists in the world. Just don’t forget that life really does have a way of working out sometimes, despite how grim it may seem in the moment.

    10. Learn when it is your fault and how to admit it.

    Some people never learn how to recognize their own fault in a situation. Growth as a person stems from self-awareness. Therefore, learning from one’s own mistakes is a part of that process. People tend to blame others because it is easier than experiencing the consequences of their actions. Next time you receive a bad grade or hurt someone’s feelings, maybe stop and think about what you could have done to avoid that reaction instead of making up excuses. Once I started telling myself that I could have tried more or that joke was too far, I began to stop repeating those mistakes. Acknowledging your faults and weaknesses is the foundation of self-improvement.

  • College, GirlSpring.com

    Check Out These Awesome College Scholarships!

    College Scholarships

    Awesome Scholarships for College

    Don’t let student debt deter your dreams.

    College is simultaneously scary and exciting. Since college is the first step towards adulthood, it is also the first step towards responsibility. The decisions made after turning 18 may heavily influence your entire future.

    Although college is accompanied by loads of stress, it is an amazing opportunity. College prepares us for the future and teaches us accountability – a vital skill that high school does not.

    Seems great, right?

    Well, one downfall is the cost. Due to the dollar signs, many of those who are financially unstable believe that college is not an option. 

    However, this is not true.

    Scholarships are a life-saver. In fact, they’re a key component in my college career. Listed below are a few scholarships that will help you headstart paying for college.

    Specific Field Scholarships

    Southern Automotive Women’s Forum

    This scholarship is catered towards women pursuing a STEM-related field. Applicants must be a female high school senior or graduate who is enrolled or plans to enroll in a Southeastern college. States include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The minimum GPA for this scholarship is 2.5.

    Amount: $500 to $5,000

    Deadline: June 1, 2019

    Additional information and application: www.southernautomotivewomen.org/scholarship/

    Need-based Scholarships

    Kids Chance Scholarship

    Applicants are required to be a student and legal resident of Alabama. To qualify, one or both parents must have been permanently disabled or killed in a workplace accident. Students can apply for this scholarship each year they are enrolled in a university.

    Amount: $500 to $2,500

    Deadline: May 1, 2019

    Additional information and application: https://www.alabamalawfoundation.org/scholarships/kids-chance/

    Military Scholarships

    Alabama GI Dependents’ Education Benefit Program

    This scholarship is available for Alabama dependents of an eligible, disabled Alabama veteran. In addition to tuition and other fees, this award also assists in paying for textbooks.

    Amount: Tuition, Fees, and Text Book Assistance

    Deadline: None

    Additional information and application: http://www.va.alabama.gov/pdf/guides/scholarship.pdf

    General Scholarships

    “Countdown to College” Scholarship

    This scholarship has one requirement. Applicants must be an Alabama High School student with a subscription to the “Countdown to College” free weekly eNewsletter. Once registered, you will be automatically submitted.

    Amount: $1,000

    Deadline: May 4, 2019

    Additional information and application: http://www.potentialmagazine.com/national-countdown-to-college-scholarship-rules-and-requirements/

    MKH Lawyers Driver Safety Scholarship

    In addition to being an Alabama High School senior, applicants must submit an original essay detailing the dangers of texting and driving. Along with methods on how to spread awareness of these dangers. Throughout the essay, applicants must discuss public awareness strategies and practical ways to reduce automobile accidents.

    Amount: 3 Awards of $1,000 – $2,000

    Deadline: April 12, 2019

    Additional information and application: https://www.mkhlawyers.com/scholarship/#apply

    Paradigm Challenge

    For this scholarship, you must create an original, creative solution for common problems that affect students. Submissions must be presented in the form of posters, videos, events, websites or applications. Altogether, your strategy must be made clear in order to qualify. Applicants may work with a team if they wish.

    Amount: $100,000

    Deadline: May 5, 2019

    Additional information and application: https://www.projectparadigm.org/

    Heritage Scholarships

    KASF (Korean-American Scholarship Foundation) – Southern Region

    This scholarship is open to applicants who plan to be a full-time student in one of the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina or Tennessee. In addition, a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and a need for financial aid is required.

    Amount: $500 to $5,000

    Deadline: June 30, 2019 

    Additional information and application: www.kasf.org/southern


    A college education opens an extensive amount of doors, so don’t allow money to be the deciding factor.

    Find Additional General Scholarships here and Additional State-Based  Scholarships here!

  • College, Confidence, GirlSpring.com, Goals, Mental Health, Puberty, School, Stress, Tips, Tough Questions

    Uncertainty is Actually A Positive Thing

    Uncertainty is Actually A Positive Thing

    By Maggie Thompson

     

    Being uncertain is a feeling with which we are all familiar.

    A looming pressure to know exactly what we want in life is placed on us as early as middle school – if not before. This question of what we want our lives to be is actually ridiculous. How could one possibly know what they truly want if they have yet to decide what they do not?

    Uncertainty is how we learn.

    When we acknowledge our uncertainty, we open the door for more opportunities. This is because knowledge is not obtained without first admitting its absence.

    Experiences shape our beliefs – on everything.

    Hesitating to wear a certain color, deciding to study before a test, and avoiding certain types of people are all decisions made due to past experience. We believe the color yellow is not flattering for our skin tone because we read it in a magazine, we study before a test to avoid a failing grade, and we choose not to befriend dishonest people so that we don’t get hurt. Regardless of how big or small the belief – it is formed by past experience. However, some of these beliefs will alter as we learn and grow. This is a good thing. Being open to new challenges provides a chance for a new perspective.

    As a result, being uncertain is the best way to unlock change and growth.

    Do not be afraid to admit uncertainty or lack of knowledge, for this is how truth is uncovered – through exploration. So when you are feeling down about not knowing exactly which direction to go, accept that some of the steps you have taken thus far have been incorrect. Although this feeling is initially terrifying, it begins to dissolve as soon as you take the first step into the unknown. Because before you know it, you will find yourself happier and more engaged with life.

  • College

    Women in the Military and Sororities

    Military and sororities

    When you think of active duty military members, do you picture young girls in a college sorority?

    Women have had to fight for so long to be taken seriously. Sometimes people disregard traditionally “women-centered” organizations, thinking that it brings us down as a gender. It is time that the world knows that women can be anything and do anything that they want to. This includes being a part of the military and a sorority.

    In 1917, Loretta Walsh became the first woman to enlist in the U.S. Military. Since then, many brave young women have signed over their lives to help guide and protect those they love.

    I was given the opportunity to interview some of these young women.

    Madison Fritts, her sister, Amber Fritts, and Shelby Pitts are active members of the United States Army National Guard, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps), and UAB sororities. Madison and Shelby are members of Sigma Kappa sorority, and Amber is a member of Kappa Delta sorority.

    The Fritts’ both began their ROTC journey from an ad their father found in the newspaper one day. The ad explained that the Army National Guard was offering a scholarship to those who enlisted. They applied immediately. They were given the opportunity to serve their country and attend school for free. Madison stated, “I wanted to join because it was a way to push myself in a way I never thought I would.” Amber said she was originally planning to enroll in the Air Force ROTC program before the National Guard scholarship was found.

    Shelby’s story hits a little closer to home.

    She started college by following her family’s footsteps by enrolling in the Air Force ROTC program her freshman year. After doubting herself, she left the ROTC program. When her grandfather passed away in 2017, she chose to honor his memory and returned to ROTC.

    The Fritts and Shelby felt the need to get out of their comfort zone to make friends on campus. Madison and Shelby became founding mothers of Sigma Kappa at UAB in 2015. Amber is one of Kappa Delta’s founding members, which was founded in 2017. Amber stated, “I… fell in love with kappa delta and all the beautiful and smart women in the sorority and became a founding mother of Kappa Delta on 28 Oct 2017.”

    Being a founding mother of a sorority means that you have gone through the proper channels to bring a chapter of that sorority to your University. These three girls joined others in doing this, but it shows their leadership qualities in their ability to bring an entire chapter to their school.

    Shelby believes in fighting sorority stereotypes by showing that the women of her sorority and those around her are all unique and talented. Madison stated, “I never saw myself as a sorority girl, but all of the women from Sigma Kappa were so genuine and kind.”

    These three young women find that the biggest challenge being in both ROTC and their sororities are the time conflicts.

    Madison stated: “Sometimes I am unable to come to events because I am at an ROTC event or drill. However, my sisters are very understanding and are always there to catch me up on what I miss.” Amber recalled missing her chapter’s first “recruitment”: “I was unable to attend recruitment because I was doing CERFP training in Mississippi.”

    CEFRP (Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear, and Explosive Response Force Package) training involves a team practicing how to handle contamination during battle, and how to decontaminate those who do not live through it. (https://www.army.mil/article/29824/physical_training_gear_does_double_duty_for_cerfp_soldiers )

    That description represents how terrifying being a part of the military can be. You never know what kind of curveballs are going to hit. These girls go through months of training to be prepared for anything.

    Sorority recruitment also requires extensive training.

    You spend months prior to the week of recruitment preparing conversation pieces, uniformity, and chants. It may seem easy, given that rush week is advertised as lasting a week, but it is so much more.

    The Fritts sisters not only participate in Sigma Kappa/Kappa Delta and ROTC, they are also members of the organization Universities Fighting World Hunger. Amber was once the President of the Blazer Running Club and the Pre-Physical Therapy society. She is also an intern for the campus recreational athletic training room. Madison has held leadership positions with Sigma Kappa and is a member of the ROTC Color Guard. Shelby is also member of the Pre-Physical Therapy society, Black Student Awareness Committee, and Her Campus.

    So, not only do these women spend a large amount of time dedicated to the military and their respected sororities, but they also try to better the world through other campus organizations.

    I asked the girls who inspired them and what advice they could share with you. They all find strength from their friends in ROTC, their sorority sisters, and their family. Shelby finds inspiration from her future. She stays motivated to give herself the best future she can imagine. She also stated: “The military can seem intimidating, but without the army I wouldn’t be who I am. I have become a better version of myself and this is something I wish everyone finds…”

    Their advice for you is to get out of your comfort zone, whether it be joining a new sorority or signing up for ROTC. You won’t know how you feel about it until you give it a try. They have both found lasting friendships and have greater confidence in themselves.

    If there is anything you should take away from this article, it is that women can be anything and do anything if they just try. You do not have to join the military to be brave. You can be brave by fighting for what you believe in and securing the education you need to help the world in different ways. Madison and Amber are being brave by serving our country, completing college courses, and meeting new people.

    Please, comment down below to share how you are/can be brave!

  • Body Image, College, School

    Three Rules for the New School Year

    Three Rules for the New School Year

    guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen

    This year, how will you navigate making new friends, encountering new teachers, growing physically and emotionally all while staying cool. It can seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. You are unique and beautiful in your own right. Here are a few tips to navigating the school year.

    Get a Mentor & Meet a New Friend

    Approach new teachers and new people with the intention to learn about them and yourself. Find a good teacher that can serve as a mentor to you. Also, you may be able to use them as a confidant or tutor should you need one. Be open to meeting a new friend and seek out friends that may differ from you, doing so will help expand your perspective of people and  in the end you may find that you are more alike than you may have thought.

     

    Embrace Physical Change and Growth

    Your body and emotions will change. It’s natural. I was so skinny, I used to get teased that I walked on stilts. Instead of staying indoors looking at all the photoshopped bodies in magazines, I made it a point to ride my bike and enjoy the outdoors. Being outside reminded me that everything is always evolving and my body and emotions weren’t any different. So instead of staring at Instagram all day,  go for a walk.  Enjoy the outdoors, it offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new environment which will help balance all of the physical and emotional ups and downs you will experience.

     

    Be You

     

    Most importantly, be you! Even if you feel like you look silly doing the floss, do it anyway. Even if you feel like people will pick at you because you still love Harry Potter, love it anyway. Someone will always have an opinion about how you look, what you say or how you dress, in the end the only thing that matters the most is how you feel about it. Take note of how you feel when you are experiencing new people and new things. If it makes you happy, keep doing them, if it makes you uncomfortable or sad, remove it from your life.

    Here’s to an awesome 2018-2019 school year!

    Keep Shining,

    Martha

  • Articles, College, Confidence, Money, School, Writing

    How to Write College Essays

    How to Write College Essays

    guest post by Rick Wedell, RFG Chief Investment Officer

     

    College application deadlines are approaching, and with that there comes the stress of the application process. Some schools do not ask for essays, while others may ask you for several different pieces of writing. With that in mind, we thought we would share with you a good approach to writing college essays beyond the simple “make sure you proof- read carefully”.1

     

     

    Step 1: The Personal Narrative

    Ideally, a college application should tell a compelling story about who you are, why you want to go to school in general, and why this institution in particular. We’ll call this your personal narrative – the twenty second elevator speech youwould give to the admissions of cer if you were fortunate enough to be able to trap them in an enclosed space for thatlength of time.

    This is a story that you should construct on paper prior to even looking at the application, and it’s crucial that it weaves itself together into a compelling and coherent story line. Consider two narratives –

    1. I’m Rick, I’m a natural leader, I ran track and focused on Model UN in High School, I want to go to college so that I can become a marine biologist, and I’m interested in the University of Miami because of your amazing overseas exchange student program
    2. I’m Samantha, I’m inquisitive, I was active in the debate team and student government in High School, I’m looking to go to college so that I can one day go to law school, and I’m interested in the University of Virginia because of your excellent pre-law curriculum track 2

    To a college admissions counselor, Rick sounds like he has no sense of what he is doing with his life, while Samantha sounds like she has been organized around a single purpose since the day she could walk. Each aspect of her narrative is complementary and additive to the others, and as a result, Samantha is a far more compelling candidate. More importantly, her story is a heck of a lot more memorable because it all hangs together – inquisitive, debate, law school, pre-law.

    As a guideline, your narrative should include two to four characteristics that describe who you are (or who you want the admissions department to think of you as). These can be interests, achievements, activities, or descriptors.
    The most important thing about your narrative is that it needs to be believable! If you say you want to help impoverished children, then you had better be able to point to something concrete that demonstrates this desire.

    That said, saying it needs to be believable is not the same thing as saying that it needs to be 100% accurate, particularly when you discuss why you want to go to college and why this school in particular. In your heart of hearts, you may want go to the University of Wherever because that’s where your friends are going, or because you love their sports teams, or because your parents went to their arch-rival and you are trying to rebel. These are all valid reasons for going to the school and horrible reasons to put on your application. You shouldn’t lie about grades, an activity, a leadership role or accolade or anything like that, however stretching the possible on your motivations or what attracts you to the school is fair game so long as it is believable. In our examples above, Rick could make his story more compelling if he tied his experience in Model UN to an interest in a government degree and Miami’s fantastic public policy program. He can always switch to marine biology once he enrolls.3

    So now we’ve got our personal narrative, which is a well-constructed, believable story about who you are, why you want to go to college, and why you want to go to this college in particular. The next step is to actually look at the application itself.

     

    Step 2 – The Grid

    Every college application is different. Some applications ask for a single essay, others ask for multiple short answers, others ask for multiple essays, and some ask for no written samples at all. If the application asks for a single essay – no problem – just take your personal narrative and start writing. If multiple written responses are required, that’s when we come to the concept of the grid.

    The grid is pretty simple – put your narrative in boxes across the top row and the list of writing requirements down the page. At the far right should be a column called “topic”. To illustrate, we’ll use Samantha’s narrative and some essay questions I made up:

    Inquisitive

    Debate

    Student Gov.

    Law School

    Pre-law track

    Topic

    Talk about a time you struggled?

    What are you most proud of?

    Why would our campus be a better place with you on it?

    Now, all we need to do is decide which situations or experiences we are going to address in each essay, making
    sure that we touch on all of the elements of our narrative at least once in the entire application. We don’t want every response to check every box, but we do want to check 2 or 3 boxes with each answer and make sure that nothing in ourpersonal narrative gets left out when the admissions of cer nishes reading the application as a whole.

    page2image47944page2image48104

    What the grid forces you to do is focus your writing on your message and avoid the cardinal sin of application writing – DO NOT simply answer the questions in a laundry list fashion. Samantha may be very proud of the time she won the spelling bee in Junior High. If the application asks what she’s proud of, she might be tempted to write about it. After all, who wouldn’t be proud of that? At the same time, that response is off message. It’s impressive, and it might make for a good essay topic for some applicants, but it doesn’t really fit into Samantha’s story. She certainly should list that achievement when asked about extra curriculars, awards, and accolades, but she shouldn’t spend essay time writing about it. Instead, she should pick an experience or situation to write about that helps to tell her story.

    Keep in mind that the questions are just prompts to get you talking about yourself, and no admissions officer is going to penalize you for being a little off topic with your answers so long as you make an effort to frame it within the question. The best overall candidates get into school, not the people who have the best examples to fit into the application questions.

    If Samantha wants to talk about a debate tournament she won for the “struggled” question, she can spend a little time describing the struggle she had with preparation for the tournament as she crafts the response. If she’d rather talk about the tournament in the next question, then she can be “most proud of” the fact that she worked together with her team and coaches to get to the victory. You get the idea.

    When Sam is finished with her grid, it might look something like this:

    Inquisitive

    Debate

    Student Gov.

    Law School

    Pre-law track

    Topic

    Talk about a time you struggled?

    XXX

    XXX

    Debate Win

    What are you most proud of?

    XXX

    XXX

    Class Senator

    Why would our campus be a better place with you on it?

    XXX

    XXX

    XXX

    Legal Intern

    She’s chosen topics to write about for each of these three essays that highlight the qualities checked on the grid. Once again, she’s not talking about everything in every response, but when she’s finished her narrative should flow through the application. Now that she has her topics, it’s off to write!

     

    Step 3 – The Writing

    Steps 1 and 2 are about figuring out what to write about for each question, and now we get to the point of actually putting words on paper. A couple of tips:

    • Make every word count. You have a limited number of words, and most of us are prolific with our prose. You want to cram as much content into as few words as possible. Start by writing with no filter, and then go back and delete / rephrase until you hit the target word count. Intro phrases like “for example” and “in other words” are great candidates to slash and burn.
    • Show, don’t tell. Wherever possible, use examples / stories / anecdotes (like the Samantha and Rick storylines above) to illustrate your points versus just stating them – it makes the work more engaging to the reader.
    • Customize your answers for each school. You may be tempted to copy essays from one application to the
      next. Resist the temptation unless the questions are the same. You can talk about the same situations on every application by reframing the experience (e.g. Samantha’s debate tournament win), but the copy / paste function on your word processor should be avoided like the plague.
    • If a question asks you about your personality or “who you are”, be brutally honest. These questions are probing not only for who you are, but for how well you know yourself, and should be treated with an appropriate level of introspection. They aren’t necessarily asking you to talk about the time you were elected president of the student government or some other mind-blowing achievement or skill. You can still fit these into the grid, but be careful – you want these responses to show that you are aware of your weaknesses as well as your strengths.4 Be honest with yourself. A good rule of thumb is that you will know that this type of essay is ready to submit when you hesitate to print a copy for fear that one of your friends might someday find it.
    • Find someone you trust to edit and proofread. You do not need 50 different editors, because they will give you conflicting advice. Find 1 or 2 people who will read all of the essays together and make sure that they present a compelling storyline, and who are willing to suggest changes to things that are a little off – an editor is worthless if they simply tell you the essays look great.

    Step 4 – The Recommendations

    You might think that we are all done once we’ve done the writing, but we still have letters of recommendation to consider! After all, we did all the work to come up with our personal narrative, and there is no reason not to share that with whoever is writing your letters of recommendation.

    page4image33496

    Indeed, you should probably think about your personal narrative when you think about WHO you ask. Ideally, we want the recommender to discuss something additive to your story, but not repetitive. If Samantha has her softball coach write a letter, it’s nice, but it doesn’t really build her story. Her Social Studies teacher might be a better option, as that is consistent with and adds to Samantha’s narrative. Having her Debate coach write the letter would be more in the repetitive camp.

    Once you’ve identified who you want to write the letter, you should ask them. Give them an out, so that if they do not want to write the letter they have a pre-built excuse. Something like “Mr. Johnson, I’m applying to the University of Wherever, and I was wondering if you have the time to write a good letter of recommendation for me?” Asking if they have the time gives them an out without hurting your feelings – you don’t want someone writing a rec who doesn’t want to do it.

    If they agree – great! Most people who write letters of recommendation want to see you succeed – they wouldn’t write it if they didn’t care. By telling your recommender how you are positioning your application, you let them know what
    to highlight in their letter. At the very least, it helps ensure that they won’t directly contradict you! Share your personal narrative with them, and if you feel comfortable enough, suggest what you think they might be able to add to the conversation.

    Sam might say: “Mr. Johnson, thank you for agreeing to write a recommendation for me. Elsewhere in my application, I’ve talked about how I’m inquisitive, loved student government and debate, and am interested in law as a career. I was hoping that you might be able to highlight my work in your class for the admissions office?” This is innocuous enough to not be pushy, but gives the letter writer enough information to compliment her story.5

    Last, but not least –

    I hope that this has been helpful as you approach your college applications. While the process may seem daunting, in a sense you are really just being asked to tell a couple of stories about yourself. These stories should be chosen and written carefully so that they are both interesting and present the best picture possible, but try to approach the process with a sense of humor. After all, no one is more qualified or better positioned to write about your life than you are.

    Good luck!

    page5image28448

    1 Which you should 100% do.
    2 The “why this particular school” portion requires you to do some homework on that school and what they offer you in that particular field. Spend the time and craft a custom answer – it shows you aren’t cutting and pasting.
    3 As an aside, MOST schools want a nice mix of math geeks, jocks, and poets. For schools that have a particularly dominant bent towards one type of major, saying you are interested in something OTHER than that might be helpful (so long as you can make it believable). Case in point – I applied under the guise of pursuing an engineering degree at a school more known for finance, then switched once I got there.
    4 I’m not talking about weaknesses like “I like to steal things” or “I have a crippling addiction” which will get you kicked out of the process immediately. We all have things we are great at and places where we could improve. Show that you know about both aspects of yourself.
    5 You should send this to your recommender in an email, or otherwise write it down so that they can refer to it later – most letter writers are doing a lot of them this time of year, and simply saying it risks they will forget it.
    Investment advice offered through RFG Advisory Group, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor.
  • Articles, College, School, Sports, TRENDING

    Groundbreaking female football player Becca Longo’s advice to young girls: ‘Don’t listen to all the negativity’

    Becca Longo, 18, is believed to have become the first female in history to earn a football scholarship with a top-tier college team when she signed a letter of intent Wednesday with Adams State University.

    Longo, a high school senior from Arizona, said she would tell young girls who have big dreams like her to “do what you love” and ignore the negativity.

    “If they want to play football, go out and play football. If they want to play hockey, they can go out and play hockey,” Longo said today on “Good Morning America.” “Just don’t listen to all the negativity because you’re going to get a lot of it.”

    “Just go do what you love,” she said.

    Longo was introduced at a signing ceremony Wednesday at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, as the first woman to sign a letter of intent to play football at a Division II level college or higher, according to ESPN.

    Longo, who will also play basketball at Adams State, said she was as surprised as anyone.

    “I didn’t believe that it was true,” she said. “I just remember sitting there and Coach [Gerald] Todd saying that I was the first girl to ever do that. … I was so blown away.”

    Making Longo’s rise to the ranks of college football even more improbable is that she only played football for two seasons in high school.

    “I started playing my sophomore year and then I transferred schools so I had to sit out my junior year and I didn’t get to play until my senior year,” Longo said. “I didn’t really expect to play after high school until sort of the middle of my senior season, which is kind of late.”

    Longo also overcame injuries and defied doctors’ expectations in her rise to become a college athlete.

    “The doctors told me that I couldn’t play sports ever again and I just kind of like used that as motivation to prove them wrong,” she said. “I love both of my sports too much to just give up and I’ve spent so much time and money and effort just to just let it all go.”