College

Find all of Emma Lenhart’s blog posts about the college experience and more on this page.

If you’re anything like me, your surroundings have a huge impact on your overall mood. When I thought about living in a dorm room my freshman year of college, my stomach flipped. (Okay, that’s a bit dramatic.) I was used to my cozy, decorated bedroom back at home. Living in a dorm room caused me to become a bit creative with how I made my space feel more inviting, simply because we weren’t allowed to put any holes in the wall/paint/etc. This post will give you 5 easy dorm room decorating ideas you can use to make your space feel more like you!

If you are a college student, make sure to check out my other posts about the college lifestyle below:

5 Damage-Free Dorm Room Decorating Ideas

Dorm Room Decorating Ideas

1. Posters

Posters have been a staple dorm room decoration for decades. However, posters don’t have to be cheesy, and they are actually a really simple way to express your interests.

I had a James Dean poster hanging in my dorm room during my freshman year, and I now have a Kanye West/Kim Kardashian poster in my first apartment. I love posters, especially because there are so many to choose from and they are so inexpensive. I love being able to express my inner celebrity fangirl 😉

2. Firefly Lights

Firefly lights are the easiest way (in my opinion), to completely change the mood of your dorm room. When I lived in a dorm room, I almost always had just my lamp or firefly lights on, and never really had the overhead lights on. I did this because the fluorescent lights that are usually in dorm rooms are honestly….extremely ugly and unflattering.

I would prefer to open my blinds and have the natural light coming into my room or use my firefly lights rather than turning on the overhead fluorescents. Below are my favorite firefly lights:

3. Tapestries

One of the easiest ways to decorate your dorm room is simply just hanging up a tapestry. Tapestries are the next best thing to being able to paint your walls, which we all know isn’t allowed in dorm rooms.

Target usually has some great tapestries to choose from in the fall time, when they release their college collection of home decor. Besides that, I like to shop on Amazon throughout the year.

Pro-tip: Remember that you can’t put nails in your walls in dorm rooms, so you will need to get creative when finding a way to hang your tapestry up. My favorite way is with Command Strips/Putty.

4. Bulletin Boards

Besides being extremely cute, bulletin boards are also functional and helpful in keeping you on track of everything in college. I personally use my bulletin board to keep my to-do lists organized, display notes from home, and other quotes/words that inspire me.

Bulletin boards are extremely inexpensive and add a nice touch to a desk/homework area in your dorm room.

5. Photo Displays

If you’re anything like me, you get homesick from time to time. One of the best ways I’ve found to overcome homesickness is to keep comforting images and notes around you. I always had photos of my friends/family from home around my dorm room and it helped me to feel more connected to home, even when I was hours away.

There’s a ton of different photo displays on the market, but I particularly like these:

Tips for Decorating Your Dorm Room:

  • Make sure that your roommate is okay with what you are putting up on your side of the room. It may be on your side, but you both have to share the room and essentially look at whatever you decide to hang up/decorate with.
  • Get pieces of furniture that are multifunctional. This can be a desk stool that can have the top removed in order to store things or a bed with storage space/bins under it. Space is super tight in dorm rooms, so keep that in mind when shopping for decor/furniture.
  • Stock up on non-damaging wall hanging supplies like Command Strips. These were vital to decorating and I always find myself running out!

Have any other dorm room decorating ideas? Let me know!

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There’s a lot of pressure put on high school students surrounding “big tests” like the SAT and ACT. It seems that these tests are what will determine college acceptances, and are therefore a huge deal. Luckily we live in a world where we are given tons of resources to use, and the same is true for test prep for the SAT/ACT. No matter which test you choose to take (or both!), this blog post will help you find the best test prep online and also give you actionable study tips to use.

Psst! Are you a high school senior looking to attend college next year? Check out my other blog posts for you like how to pick a college and where to find scholarships for college.

Test Prep Online

Best Test Prep Online for Studying for SAT/ACT

Practice Makes Perfect

As annoying and redundant as it may sound, practice is really the vital factor that is going to help boost your SAT/ACT score. Although the practice tests may be super long and boring, it’s worth it to go into the real test knowing the format of the test, and some sample questions.

The first time I ever took the ACT, I hadn’t done any prep before it and I really regretted it. Of course, I learned from this mistake and quickly invested in hiring an ACT tutor, but it was very expensive and took a lot of time away from me. While my tutor did eventually help me raise my test score, I know that there are better test prep online resources available now than there were even a few years ago when I took the test.

Magoosh.com

Magoosh is a test prep online resource that I seriously wish I knew about a few years ago when I was in high school prepping for tests. Magoosh isn’t specific to just the ACT test, but rather offers test prep online for multiple common tests (see below.)

Magoosh Test Prep

The best part about Magoosh is that you can log into your account anytime, and anywhere since it’s all online test prep. I love being on my laptop, and I know that I would’ve preferred to do my ACT test prep in the comfort of my own home on my laptop, rather than traveling to my ACT tutor’s house once a week.

Magoosh has a simple design that makes it easy for students to navigate through online test prep. With over 700 questions, you’ll feel ready for whichever test you end up taking. And, if you ever get stuck, you have access to support from online tutors who are highly educated and trained in test prep!

Magoosh is an inexpensive option for students wanting to improve their test scores, but still get quality time with trained tutors who know what they are talking about. I wish I would’ve had Magoosh and saved hundreds of dollars!

And guess what the best part is? Magoosh guarantees that you will increase your ACT score by 4 points or increase your SAT score by 100 points and if you don’t then you will GET YOUR MONEY BACK. How awesome is that?!

Improve you SAT Scores by Studying Online

Click HERE to get a 7-day free trial of Magoosh + let’s get your test scores up!

Study Tips for ACT/SAT

  • Skip hard questions on the ACT and come back to them if you have time at the end of going through the test. Time passes fast during the ACT and it’s important not to waste too much time on just one question.
  • Consider using the process of elimination on questions that stump you. It’s a better plan of attack to narrow down your options and then decide between one or two answers, rather than just randomly bubbling in an answer and hoping for the best. The process of elimination is especially great to use on the SAT test.
  • Make sure the bubbles you fill in are dark and clear to read.
  • Trust your gut when trying to answer a difficult answer. Your gut is practically your brain’s first reaction and reasoning, so go with that on especially difficult questions.
  • Remember that the ACT test does NOT penalize you for answering and guessing. Try and get an answer filled in for EVERY question on the ACT.
  • Keep calm the night before the test. Go to bed at a reasonable time, try and de-stress, and get the test out of your head. Worrying yourself over the test will inevitably make you more nervous and shaky for when it comes time to take the test.
  • Always double check your answers (especially on the SAT test) if you have time to do so at the end.

What are your favorite test prep online resources? How do/did you prepare for taking your ACT/SAT?

Don’t forget to sign up for your 7-day free trial of Magoosh + let me know how your results turn out!

Improve you SAT Scores by Studying Online

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If you ever want to see a college student at their most stressed out, visit them during finals week. Although finals are made to truly test your knowledge and learning in a course, they have somehow turned into an all-out stress inducer for college kids across the nation. However terrifying college finals may seem, you do seem to always get through them, and the sun rises the next day. But do you know how to study effectively for a final?

Knowing how to study effectively is important as you can spend less time studying, but get more from your sessions, which will help you perform better on the test. Below you will find some of my best tips for killing it on your next exam. These are my tried and true tips that I personally use myself during finals!

Psst! I have another post about more general study tips for college. Click here to read that post about 25 study tips for college.

How to Study for Finals

How to Study Effectively for Your Final Exams

Get a Study Buddy

Be sure to take advantage of the other peers in your class when approaching a final. Chances are, they are just as freaked out about the final as you are. Because of this, you have the opportunity to possibly study with someone from the class.

A practical way to find a new study buddy in your class is to just simply ask someone in person after class! Perhaps there is a person you sat next to all semester long or even a new friend you might have made. If you are too shy to ask in person, think of emailing them (check the class roster) or shooting them a Facebook message.

Having another person from your same class to study with is so beneficial, as you can help quiz each other on course topics, and also clear up any misunderstandings about the content of the course. While you could just study on your own or with another friend, having someone who sat alongside you in the class will prove to be more helpful as you know they are in the same boat as you! Strength in numbers, right?!

Revisit Course Content

Let’s imagine that in an ideal world you have been staying on top of your course-work all semester long, and have been reading your textbook every night. Wow! That’s great.

Now, let’s take a look at reality and realize that you probably missed an assignment or two, and haven’t been hitting up that textbook as much as you’ve been hitting up that new season of Scandal on Netflix.

The great part about finals week is that you have time to revisit old course content that you may not have fully understood when first learning it, or might not have even read/studied it the first time around. Professors are looking to check your comprehension of the course in final exams, and will probably be pulling questions and content for the final from the entirety of the course.

Make sure to flip through your textbook and familiarize yourself with all of the course terms, theories, and concepts. You don’t want to be kicking yourself the day of the final when you realize the answer to a question was straight from the textbook! Also, ask to meet with your professor during their office hours to ask any questions or for further clarification on the course.

Prioritize Studying

I’ve heard people in my classes complain before that they were “too busy to study” or “wish they could’ve studied more.” While yes, there are sometimes physical and immovable limitations on our schedules, studying should really become a priority for you during finals week if you want to perform well.

A favorite way of mine to prioritize studying is to physically plan out and write in my planner the times that I will be studying for my test throughout the week. Having a set time written out and blocked off from the rest of your activities will protect your precious free time, and prepare you for when it’s time to take the test. Don’t be the whiney girl that’s upset with herself when final grades are returned!

Find Your Study Spot

Having somewhere sacred on campus (or in the surrounding areas) for you to study is key during finals week. Whether it is in the campus library or the nearby Starbucks, having somewhere to go where you can clear your head can really help you get into the studying “zone.”

It’s imperative to have a quiet place to study at where you feel comfortable and free from distractions. Sure, your bed might be comfy, but will you be tempted to doze off during studying or pull out your computer to Netflix + chill by yourself? Take an honest look at where you normally study (and with who!) before you go to study for your next final. Personally, I like to go to a coffee shop that is off-campus so that I am in a quiet environment, surrounded by other people that are usually doing work or something of the sort. Studying in the library on my college campus personally stresses me out and makes me feel more overwhelmed, but every person’s preference is different! 

Give Yourself a Break

I know, this may sound like a paradox. Give yourself a break?! On finals week? No way.

Yes way. I believe that you should study and prepare for tests as best as you possibly can, but also realize at the end of the day that exams are somewhat out of your hands and there is only so much you can do leading up to them. Give yourself a study break every now and again, and remind yourself that the result of this final will not alter the rest of your life significantly. If you follow the tips in this post on how to study effectively and try your best, you really can’t be too mad at yourself 😉


How do you prepare for finals and finals week? Share any of your study tips in the comments!

Pssst! If you liked this post + learned something new about how to study effectively, I would love for you to share it with your friends. Sharing this post takes just a few seconds + helps with the growth of this blog. Click the blue social sharing buttons to the left or at the top of this page. Thank you!

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It’s that time of year when high-school seniors are touring colleges all over the nation, in search of which school they will end up at next year. This time of year is so stressful for many, and the idea of finding college scholarships can only add to that stress. Finding scholarships for college should not be taking up all of your time!

I have rounded up all of my best tips and resources for finding scholarships. I spent a lot of time my own senior year looking for scholarships, and got pretty good at it in the process! So learn from my success (and mistakes!) and let’s find you those precious scholarships!

Want to read more of my posts about college? Check out:

How to Find Scholarships

Resources to Find College Scholarships

Check with Your Guidance Counselor

The first place you should look for scholarship opportunities is with your own high school guidance counselor. My guidance counselor in high school gave me a HUGE packet of scholarships that I could possibly apply to. The great thing about this resource is that most of these scholarships are local, meaning that they come from organizations and corporations in your high school’s town. Having knowledge of these scholarships put you at an advantage against some of your peers who may not think to ask their guidance counselor about local scholarships.

Unigo

Unigo is a great online resource for finding scholarships. The website exists as a hub for scholarships, and you can log on to browse all of the opportunities and find some that may fit you. The possibilities are really endless on Unigo. You can even create a profile on Unigo to use that will match you to the best scholarships based on your profile.

Scholarships for High School Seniors Unigo

Another thing I like about Unigo is that you can browse the scholarships by category (see picture above.) Unigo has scholarships that you can search for by your current state, major, and more. Don’t miss out!

Tip: New scholarships are released pretty much every day. Don’t check online for scholarships once and think that is enough! I would recommend checking once a week for any new opportunities.

College Visits

Another great way to find out about scholarships as a high school senior is to meet with someone from the financial aid office when you are on a college campus visit. The financial aid office at colleges expects these meetings to happen and should be more than happy to meet with you, a prospective student, about the real cost of attending their school/university.

Email the school you are visiting ahead of time and inquire about the possibility of setting up an appointment during your visit of the school with the financial aid office. Once you solidify a time, make sure to come up with some questions that you would like to get answered when you visit. Does the school offer any specialized scholarships? What advice do they have for getting scholarships to attend their school? Be respectful + they should be happy to help!

Family Employment

Check with your parent’s employer to see if they offer scholarships for high school seniors! This is often overlooked and it’s a shame because it really is right under your nose. If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t know how to find about scholarships, ask your parents if they would be willing to get you in contact with someone at their work or ask a supervisor themselves.


Tips for Applying to Scholarships

Give it Your All

Scholarships are tricky because, a lot of the time, it’s out of your hands whether or not you will get the scholarship in the end. To help your odds, make sure that you are giving your scholarship applications 100%. Whether it’s just a questionnaire or a long-form essay, make sure that you are trying to convey the best version of yourself. Don’t blow off any application or think you will “never be selected”…you just never know!

Make a Shortlist

Finding college scholarships to apply to can be overwhelming, but once you do find a handful of scholarships to apply to, make a shortlist. Keep a list of the scholarship name, due date, and requirements so that you don’t miss any part of what’s required. Doing this will help you feel less overwhelmed with keeping all the information straight. It’s a life-saver!

Apply to Many

When I was a high school senior, I probably applied to 10-15 different scholarships. These scholarships were a mix of local and national scholarships, but that didn’t matter to me. Apply to as many scholarships you can, to help boost your chances of being selected for at least one. Don’t be lazy with your college scholarship applications…you will kick yourself for not putting more effort in when you see all of your classmates getting scholarship money!


What are your best tips for finding college scholarships? 

Pssst! If you liked this post + learned something new, I would love for you to share it with your friends. Sharing this post takes just a few seconds + helps with the growth of this blog. Click the blue social sharing buttons to the left or at the top of this page. Thank you!

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