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Organization Tips for School

September 10, 2012

Summer is over–it’s time to get ready to head back to school! Whether you’re a freshman or rising senior, it always pays to be organized. Here are several things you need to know in order to stay on top of your workload while in school.

  • Always use a planner. Planners are the best things for any college student, regardless of your major. If you stay up-to-date with your homework, clubs, organizations, sports and jobs, there’s no way you’ll miss out on an activity or forget an assignment. It’s a good idea to update your planner after every class or meeting so you’ll be 100% sure of deadlines, projects and meetings that are approaching in the future.

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5 Things Every Senior Must Pack

August 24, 2012

Senior year is approaching fast for college students across the country. It’s an exciting time full of emotional endings and new beginnings. By senior year, you have the know-how to really enjoy the rest of your time at school, no matter where you are. Here are some of the best things to bring with you as senior year begins:

  1. A book of recipes: It’s senior year, so you’ll most likely be living in an on or off-campus apartment complex. If this is your first time with a kitchen, don’t sweat it. Run out to a bookstore or order a recipe book for your e-reader or tablet. You’ll be amazed at how many different types of books there are to make cooking easy, cheap and enjoyable. Be sure to host lots of dinner parties to show off your new cooking skills, too!
  2. Creative, cozy fixings for your living space: Whether you’re living in a dorm or an apartment, it’s important to make it really feel like home. Long gone are the days of posters and whiteboards–now it’s time for fun photo frames, cool lamps, funky rugs and other attractions that show off your personality. If you’re not used to a bigger space, hit up the closest megastore to find lots of cheap apartment or dorm fixings for you and your roommates and split the bill. Your place will look amazing and you’ll feel right at home.
  3. The beginnings of a professional wardrobe: It may seem pretty far off, but (trust me!) you’ll be interviewing for jobs in no time. Many colleges schedule career fairs for the spring and fall, so make sure you have plenty of professional outfits to choose from, depending on the season. If you think you’re the only person who will be dressed to impress come senior year, think again. Your roommates, colleagues and friends will also be job hunting. Don’t have a professional wardrobe yet? Spend the beginning of senior year saving up to buy some high-quality pieces, like a suit or a nice blazer. They’ll be worth it in the long run.
  4. A great camera: Senior year is full of laughter, fun and lots of good times. If your college or university hosts senior activities throughout the year, go to them! And don’t forget to bring a camera! If you aren’t happy with your current camera (or if you’re just using a camera phone), consider an upgrade. Senior year only happens once and it never hurts to have something tangible from your memories. It may seem cheesy, but you’ll appreciate printing out those photos when the year is over.
  5. A positive attitude: Your senior year may not be all fun and games. You still have classes, homework, and perhaps a part-time gig on campus–but on top of that, now you have to look for a job. During your senior year, you may get a little overwhelmed and that’s okay. It’s totally normal to dread the day you leave your home for the last four years. If you get stressed out, just remember that it’s a completely okay reaction to everything going on. Have lots of fun by creating all sorts of new memories with your friends and remembering to think positive as the year goes on!

I hope these senior year essentials are things you’ll take with you as you head back to school. GradGuard wishes you a safe and successful year!


The Best Schools by the Beach

June 7, 2012

The Beach!

With the month of June finally here, it’s time for many of us to start hitting the beach instead of the books. Summer is here! At some colleges and universities in the U.S., it feels like summer almost year-round. Here’s a quick list of some of the best schools located on the beach.

Coastal Carolina University: This university in South Carolina is home to over 9,000 students who can enjoy the sunshine as much as they want. Coastal Carolina is conveniently located nine miles away from Myrtle Beach, one of the most popular seaside areas in America. There, they can surf and hang out in the sun as much as they please. The university also has it’s very own golf course, The Hackler Course in Conway, S.C. The course is operated by the school’s Golf Management program. At Coastal Carolina, it’s easy to have fun in the sun.

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How to Be a Great Intern

June 4, 2012
2011 Summer Intern Poster Session

As summer approaches, it’s almost time for internships to start. No matter what field you’re working in, it’s important to know that internships are the perfect opportunity to learn more about a job you may want someday. Internships offer insight into what you may (or may not) want to do for the rest of your life.

Your first internship is a substantial professional learning experience. Here are a few pointers to make sure you do the best possible job to prepare for an internship!

Make a good first impression.

That first day of work, come in ready to learn and meet lots (and lots) of new people. Don’t be shy or overwhelmed–show your gratitude to the person who hired you right off the bat. Be sure to stay positive and upbeat during your first day. In the professional world, first impressions are critical. Shake people’s hands, make small talk, and be ready to ask lots of questions about your new position. By showing interest, you’ll stand out as a professional worker.

Don’t be afraid.

If you’ve never worked in an office setting before, an internship can be daunting. However, the people who hired you to understand your strengths and will know to expect questions–that’s a part of their jobs. As an intern, you may not be sure if you’re doing something right. Be sure to talk to your supervisor immediately if you’re unsure about a problem or task. Most of the time, they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re asking a question and not continuing on a task in the wrong direction. During your first few weeks, take advantage of asking questions outside of projects, as well. See how your supervisor got to where he is now or sit in on a brainstorming session with your team. Your effort and dedication will be noticed.


As an intern, you are working for professional work experience. This means that you always must be professional. The best starting point? The beginning of the day. You may have supervisors or other interns who stroll into the office ten minutes late. Don’t do it! There will always be somebody watching to make sure you’re doing your best work.

Be a part of the team.

Lots of offices hang out outside the workplace. Many companies have soccer teams, yoga classes, or book clubs that meet after the day is done in the summer. If the people in your office share your interests, go for it and join forces! By seeing your bosses in a different setting, you’ll appreciate them more as people and co-workers. And of course, you’ll have a lot of fun along the way!

Good luck with summer internships as the school year ends!

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Study Abroad: Why I’d Do it Again

June 1, 2012
Study Abroad: Why I'd Do it Again

Studying abroad is a mix of emotions for a student. First of all, it involves leaving behind friends, family, professors, mentors, and the university you’ve come to call home. Studying abroad is not for everyone–it involves lots of adaptation, change, and challenges. The money is confusing. The language can be foreign. The culture is definitely different. So with all of these things considered, would I have done study abroad the same (or at all)?

The answer? Yes. In a heartbeat.

I chose to stay with my own university, Boston University, to study abroad in Madrid, Spain, to ensure that I would receive the proper credits I needed for my minor in the Spanish Language. Recently, Boston University’s study abroad program made headlines when three students were killed in a tragic automobile accident in New Zealand. These three students were part of a big trip that rented vans and drove the coast of New Zealand to visit the location where the Lord of the Rings movies had been filmed. This tragedy hit Boston University hard, and the three students who died will never be forgotten by the caring community at my alma mater.

Studying abroad comes with risks. Boundaries can be tested, and people absolutely change after a long period spent in another country. Many people experience homesickness during their time away. But is it worth it?

Again, yes. 

For me, studying abroad brought me to places I would never see. During my time in Madrid, I visited many other locations outside of Spain. I went to Amsterdam, Athens, London, Dublin, Paris, and Dresden in four months. Most of my traveling was done alone or with only one other person. By traveling in small groups (or alone), I could really explore the places I wanted to visit. It was also great to see my friends studying abroad in England, Ireland, and Germany because they already knew what would interest me when I visited. Without my friends being abroad, I would have had fewer places to go and fewer couches to crash on. Traveling to these fantastic cities will always hold a special place in my heart, and I know I’ll be lucky to go to this many interesting locations again at the same time.

My experience abroad was fantastic because of my many travel opportunities, but having a successful abroad experience isn’t just about travel. During my first few months abroad, I made Spain and schoolwork my number one priorities. After all, I chose to go overseas to learn a language. Traveling to a different city every weekend would not improve my Spanish skills. In fact, leaving Spain all the time would have probably hindered my ability to speak Spanish and made studying abroad a lot less successful for me.

I made myself stay in Spain and only Spain for the first two months I was abroad. During that time, I went to Toledo, Seville, and Barcelona–all different cities rich with history and special cultural norms. However, I promised myself that I would not leave Spain for the first two months of my abroad period because I knew I needed to acclimate to my new life in Europe. At the time, I took three classes in Spanish and worked at Spanish-speaking events and marketing agencies in downtown Madrid. I had schoolwork to do and a new city to explore. By easing into the “travel” side of the study abroad experience, I learned more and remember my reasons for being in Europe in the first place.

Studying abroad taught me about my limits, goals, and growth as a person. It is an experience like no other, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone lucky enough to have room in their schedule for it. The main lesson I learned: be safe. Be smart. Keep an eye on your friends, and they’ll do the same for you.

Most importantly, be open. Be open to seeing and learning new things and meeting new people along the way. With that openness and intelligence, studying abroad will earn a place in your heart forever.


The Most Expensive Schools in the United States

April 25, 2012

Boston College

Going to college is a fun, exciting time for both students and parents. But when it comes to education, things can get a little pricey. Private and public universities are becoming more and more expensive each year–even while the economy continues to struggle. Last year, the United States College Board identified 123 as costing more than $50,000 a year. So which schools serve as some of the most expensive in the country? Take a look to find out:

Harvey Mudd College: This school, located in Claremont, CA, is one of the country’s most expensive finds–tuition, room and board topped $56,000 in 2011. The college prides itself on state-of-the-art research centers, specializing in the sciences, math and engineering. Students have the opportunity to experiment with model rockets due to their revised courses that take place in their new labs.

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Choosing the College for You

April 17, 2012
Choosing the College For You

College. It’s the amazing time in your life when you learn so much–not just about a particular area of study, but yourself. You get the chance to go anywhere you’d like. You could move across the country or even to the other side of the world.

Going to college is really exciting, but choosing the right one can take a lot of meditation and time. So how do you figure out what’s the perfect college for you? Follow these guidelines for a look:

Put your researching skills to the test. One of my biggest fears is regretting things. If you’re anything like me, then picking a college can be a huge task because you never want to feel like you’ve missed out on any one option. Make sure to go online, buy some “college books,” (the bigger, the better!) and really immerse yourself in researching the types of schools you like.

Priorities, priorities, priorities! When you’re selecting a school, prioritize what’s important to you. Not feeling a rural school? Then don’t even think of applying to one! City schools seem intimidating and they’re something you’re not ready for? Then avoid touring them. Make sure you factor not just academic reputation but how likely you’ll get in to a certain college or university. Also know its size, location, proximity to home and all the opportunities (like study abroad, internships, etc.) that come with the school–then you’ll feel like you really did your homework!

Enjoy the view. Visiting colleges is awesome. Trust me, you’ll never have so much fun in your academic life. You have the chance to visit someplace totally amazing and really envision yourself there for the next four years. For me, I knew I’d visited my dream school when I took a tour. Be sure to take a tour and enjoy what the campus has to offer. Of course, ask lots of questions, too! Current students are your best resource when it comes to choosing a place to go to school. Usually they’ll be relatable and honest so don’t by shy!

Test the waters. While you’re visiting a school, test out what it’s like to really be a student there! Ask the admissions office if there’s any way you can sit in on classes or visit a residence hall while you’re touring the school. Be sure to also take a peek into whatever department you’re interested in–if you’re interested in engineering, stop by the Science Center. Same thing goes for an interest in any other major! Schools love curious prospective students and you may stand out when you express your interest to those sitting in the admissions office.

Be flexible and open. You may find your dream school but when you get there on the first day of classes you could realize it’s not the place for you. You could also have your options limited by acceptances and financial aid. On each college tour, make sure to really absorb the school community, feel and student body, even if its one your parents made you go on. You never know where you may end up, and it may all turn out for the best. Make a list of the qualities you want in a school and resources you feel you need to get the best education, then see how your list of schools stack up. You be surprised by which schools fulfill the most of your wish list, regardless of how you felt about the school while on a tour.

Have fun! Remember to enjoy the whole college experience. College really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to grow as an adult and person. Pick a place that plays to your strengths and run with it! You’ll meet so many amazing people in the process and learn a lot about yourself and others.

Good luck in your college search from all of us at GradGuard!



Prevent Theft in Your Apartment

April 3, 2012
safeguard your apartment from theft

208 E. 28th Street Apartment Door

Moving off campus is a huge step for a college student. It signifies responsibility and independence – having your own house or apartment is an important move towards the real world. An apartment can be a fun place to call home, but for many, an apartment is very different from a dorm room surrounded by campus security and hundreds of other students.

If you plan on moving to an apartment off campus in the near future, check out these useful tips to prevent your apartment from unnecessary theft:

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Interview Tips and Tricks

March 23, 2012

You researched your ideal job. You’ve submitted your resumé. You sent in your cover letter. You’ve waited for a while and it finally happened–you received that fantastic e-mail asking for an interview. Getting asked back for an interview is great news for anyone applying to a job; someone out there has validated your skills and wants to learn more about you and what you can bring to a particular position. The only problem? You’ve never been on an interview before.

Do you need some quick tips for nailing that interview for your dream job? Here are a few helpful hints for some interview success:

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Surviving the Summer Job Search

March 21, 2012

summer jobs

Even though some of us have just had (or are about to go on) Spring Break, it’s already that time. Yes, time to start thinking about summer jobs and plans. It’s only March, but most internships, jobs and programs are closing in on their final dates for applications! Not exactly sure what type of job you want for the summertime? Check out the following information for securing an awesome summer job:

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