Category Archives: Colleges & Universty

The Best Holiday Gift Baskets For College Students

Most of us know that the majority of college students have limited funds. With the holiday season approaching, you may find yourself wondering what gift to give to a college student. A holiday gift basket is a perfect gift, whether you make one yourself or order one ready-made. When deciding what should go in your gift basket, consider some things that a college student may need. You can pick a theme for your basket, or mix and match different things. Food is an important part of any college student’s life. Dining plans can be expensive, and not all students are lucky enough to have them. Even buying groceries can be overwhelming when students have to use their funds sparingly. Consider buying food items that are non-perishable for your gift basket.

Fruit, popcorn, snack cakes, crackers or chips would also work well. An added and appreciated bonus, to any gift basket would be a gift card – in this case, one to a grocery store that they frequent. You can choose to have a bath-themed basket, including in it every day items, as well as some luxuries. Shampoo and Conditioner, bath wash, and a loft are a good starting point for your basket. Think about what types of things you could add to make it extra special – maybe a body spray, tooth paste, a new tooth brush? For a girl, a new hair brush, some rubber bands and a small clip are good accompaniments.

How about some slippers, maybe a robe? Some of the most important accessories of college student is their notebooks and something to write with. Another great theme to go with is paper, pens, and the like. Pick up a couple of notebooks, some cool pens, maybe in different colors to place in your basket. Considering the subjects that this student is taking, a new calculator may be something to include, maybe even some graph paper and a pack of highlighters. How about a movie or music themed basket? Throw in a couple of bags of popcorn, a little candy, the latest movie and get creative. For a music basket, get some new “headphones” for their iPod, a few of their favorite CDs, maybe a gift card to download more music to their iPod. Of course, there is always the option to buy a gift basket that is pre-made. There are many different kinds to choose some. A classic basket is one of fruit. Other kinds out there are candy or movie themed, others that are full of cookies, crackers, and meat and cheeses. Whether you decide to make a holiday gift basket for a college student or prefer to buy one, keep in mind the things that they need and like, and be creative. There are no limits with a gift like this!

College, Drugs and Alcohol: Realities to Confront in Making the College Decision

Success in college requires intense focus and attention to detail – lots of details. And while it’s true that many change majors and career focus during their time in school, it is also true that those who do so successfully have their focus aligned at another, even more significant level. That level is one of very personal self-commitment to the goal of preparation for the future.

The landscape is littered with those who went to college without a commitment to a specific career, but more importantly failed to have the deeper commitment to personal preparation regardless of their career.

Some would say that those with that deeper level of commitment just have it and that it can’t be developed. It’s just there or it isn’t. That would generally equate it to being a talent. Regardless of the particulars on that point, the following is true and statistics and observations support it.

Alcohol and drug dependence, misuse or addiction is usually a fatal blow to the quest for college excellence – and graduation for that matter. If you are confronting the reality of using alcohol and drugs consistently during high school, you need to be very careful about your college decisions. In fact, you need to find someone you can confide in regarding your present and your future.

The fear of confronting misuse and possible addiction is daunting until you consider your potential future if you don’t. In my work, I have met hundreds of people whose lives were happily liberated by honestly confronting their use and getting help. From there, they were able to establish and maintain a course for their future.

Did they have to make mid-course corrections? They sure did. But in many cases, they didn’t have their boat sink. It stayed afloat and they claimed victory for their future.

At many colleges and universities, twenty-five percent (25%) of college freshmen leave school during their first year due to academic performance deficiencies where drugs and alcohol played a major role, if not being the sole reason.

The vast majority of those students were not just using one drug or favoring one type of alcohol. They used and abused multiple drugs at once. Emergency rooms near college campuses tell the same stories every year of student who die and come close to dying because of alcohol poisoning and comorbid drug use.

The average age for first use of alcohol in the United States is fourteen years of age. We know that youth drinkers drink approximately 70% of their alcohol in one event after they are already legally drunk.

Fortunately, the majority of youth in America don’t drink or use illegal or illicit drugs, but unfortunately the minority that does is very large. If growing high school drop-out rates associated with alcohol and drug use are a problem, it is not a huge leap to assume that the same is true of college students.

And as bad as this is on the surface, you begin to see the long-term problem of broken lives and personal destruction due to the impact of these substances on the brain early on. A young person’s brain does not fully mature physically until age twenty-five.

Substance abuse causes brain shrinkage, impaired development, impaired judgment, impaired memory, impaired motor skills and many other challenging issues that make focusing on success in college virtually impossible. The front lobe or cortex of the brain and the cerebellum (which controls coordination) are especially susceptible to the impact of alcohol. Alcohol use is out-of-control on most college campuses, and those with limited or no control over the temptation to drink and abuse drugs have the decked stacked against them.

Before you get serious about college, get serious about getting your brain ready. The consequences of lost tuition, a criminal record, a failed college transcript, the loss of your time and the possible harm you could bring to others is worth paying attention to.

College Success – What Does it Take?

College success is not as difficult for most young students as learning how to take on adult responsibilities. Letting go of adolescence and becoming an adult is more challenging according to Carl Pickardt, Psychologist and adolescent specialist. If you take responsibility for showing up to class regularly, turning papers and work in on time, and sacrificing some of the time spent with friends in favor of more study time, you have won half the battle for achieving college success. Being responsible for meeting the demands of college (ability to respond and step up to the plate) is one of the keys to college achievement.

You already have been using some of the higher level thinking skills needed to succeed in college. You use these skills when you solve your life problems and overcome obstacles. Your lack of success in college will not be because you are not smart enough. There are many different types of intelligence and my experience in working with hundreds of students has shown that practically every student is smart in one way or another. For more information on different types of intelligence other than IQ, you can read the theories of Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences), Robert Sternberg (Successful Intelligence) and Daniel Goleman (Emotional and Social Intelligence).

In addition to self-responsibility, there are three other factors you will need to succeed in college:

1. Learning how to learn and study skills — You need to learn how to learn effectively and the ways that you learn best. Most colleges offer at least one college success course which can teach you these skills. These courses also need to be taught to high school students, but sadly few high schools provide them. A good college success course will teach you: how to study and learn, reading comprehension strategies, your best learning styles and types of intelligences, how to set and reach your goals, time management, discovery of your talents and strengths, career exploration, writing skills, note taking, problem solving, and more.

2. Work Ethic — Good study and work habits will lead you to success in college and in the work force. Good study skills will only be effective if you apply them. They will be worthless to you if you do not use them.

3. Motivation — Without motivation you will not consistently use good study skills, work habits and your intelligence and potential. There are two types of motivation, the carrot (pleasure) and the stick (pain). When you use these together you will have a powerful motivational combination. Keep your long-range goals for achieving a college education in your mind’s eye. For example, let’s say you want a degree in secondary education to become a teacher. Visualize and imagine yourself as a teacher who is making a positive difference for your students. Enjoy the positive feelings that come when you see yourself as a great teacher. This is the carrot and a reminder of one of the benefits (pleasure) you will experience by achieving your goal. Also remind yourself of the stick (pain) or the consequences if you do not achieve your goal of completing a degree in secondary education. It can deprive you of becoming a teacher. Reminding yourself of the benefits and consequences will help you to stay motivated and persistent. Also break your long-range goals into small steps. Every step accomplished provides you with positive feedback and will increase your motivation to reach your long-range goals.

You can succeed in college, in your career, and in your life. Where to begin? Start with college success by taking responsibility, learning how to learn effectively and how you learn best, using good study skills and work habits, and by fueling your motivation to succeed. Use these four keys and you will open the door to college success and the gateway to your dreams.