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

Deciding how to pick a college is extremely stressful. I still remember my senior year of high school, when I was frantically applying to schools, writing essays, and visiting campus’ nationwide. A huge part of my decision was whether to attend a traditional state school or a big city school.

In the end, I ended up choosing a city school, and now attend university in Chicago, IL! While I love the choice I ended up making, I wish I would’ve had someone to tell me the pros/cons of attending a city school beforehand. Without further ado, let’s explore how to pick a college.

How to Pick a College

How to Pick a College: Is a Big City Right for You?

The Good Things About College in a Big City

First, let’s talk about the good things that come along with attending a big city school. I could probably go on for hours because I love my school + big cities so much 😉

Fast + Fun Lifestyle

Living in a big city honestly never gets boring. There is never a time where I feel like there is nothing to do because I can always hop on the train/get an Uber and go downtown. Living in a city means that there is constantly concerts to attend, museums to visit, etc.


The diversity you get to experience when living in a big city is probably my most favorite part. Not only are people from all different walks of life, but also all different ages, etc. Attending college in a big city is like sharing your college experience with a million other people, all somewhat different than yourself. This is awesome, for me, because there are always new things to learn and new people to meet.


I really think that attending college in a big city like New York or Chicago is for a certain type of person. Because city schools have a lot of commuter students, the campus itself can sometimes feel dead. This sometimes forces me (and other students) to go back to our apartments, or “do our own thing.”

Basically, living in a city has made me feel like I am a lot more independent than other people my age. I don’t really see my university as my home base while in college, but just a place I go to attend classes.

Growth + Opportunities

Perhaps the most valuable part of attending school in a city is the multitude of opportunities, internships, mentors, and career choices available to you.

Almost everyone I know that attends my school has had at least one internship in their undergraduate years. Because you are in such a buzzing location, opportunities for your career + personal growth are constantly presenting themselves. There are also tons of creative and up-and-coming people/businesses in big cities, which I love!

The Bad Things About College in a Big City

Like anything, there are some downsides to attending school in a big city. It’s a give and take!

Not So Typical

I’m not even sure if I would consider this a negative or not, but attending college in a big city is going to be completely different than anything you ever imagined university to be. Nothing you have seen from movies/media growing up will really correlate to what attending a big city school is like.

For example, at my school at least, greek life (sororities and fraternities) are not big. A very small percentage of undergraduate students at my school are involved in greek life, where some state schools have a majority of students involved.

There is also no football team at my school, as I previously mentioned, so I don’t get to attend stereotypical college game-day parties or tailgates.

School Spirit

Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of pride about where I attend school. However, I feel like it’s a lot different than the “in your face” pride that I see at other schools. Because we don’t have huge sports teams, our school spirit is a little less apparent, and it can feel a little isolating at times. There is definitely still school spirit at city schools, but it is expressed in very different ways than more traditional schools.


I only lived in the dorms of my college for my freshman year. After that, it was apartment living for me. The truth is, a lot of universities cannot accommodate the large number of students that they attract because space is limited in big cities. Because of this, a lot of students live in apartments/houses throughout the city and have to commute to school.

Oh, how I miss my freshman days and being able to roll out of bed and be across campus in class 10 minutes later 🙂

Do you have any other tips on how to pick a college?


Online shopping has become a real problem in my life. Or rather, for my bank account. I love online shopping and browsing the best online shopping websites so much more than shopping in person these days. It seems so much less stressful, I can take my time browsing the website, and it arrives at my house in a pretty package just days later. Kinda like Christmas morning 😉

But really. Online shopping is the best, and we all know it. I usually order from places like Forever 21/ASOS, but there are so many shops out there that are both inexpensive and trendy that I have yet to discover.

So today, I’m sharing the best online shopping sites that you may have not already heard about. If you like stores like Morning Lavender, H&M, and more…you’re in the right place! These stores are my tried and true, so get your debit cards ready.

Best Inexpensive Online Stores for Girls

P.S. If you want to earn some extra cash to use to shop online, check out Opinion Outpost! It’s my favorite way to earn fast money, and you can get paid directly through your PayPal account. Earn points and rewards for giving your opinion about companies and products!

Looking for the best online shopping websites for college girls? Find sites similar to Forever21 and ASOS on the Emma Lenhart blog, perfect for the college girl on a budget.

Best Online Shopping for College-Aged Girls

1. Lulus

Lulu’s has THE CUTEST clothes and is a true testament you don’t have to spend a ton of money to dress well. I especially love their shoes + dresses.

Online Shopping Sites for College Girls Inexpensive

I would describe Lulu’s as being perfect for the everyday college girl who wants to have an awesome wardrobe. Lulu’s has items that are great to wear with just jeans and sneakers or dress up for a night out on the town with your girls. If you are looking for somewhere to shop online that will never let you down, Lulu’s is the place to hit up. They are constantly releasing new pieces into their stock, which I love.

Looking for the best online shopping websites for college girls? Find sites similar to Forever21 and ASOS on the Emma Lenhart blog, perfect for the college girl on a budget.

2. Boohoo

Boohoo is my most favorite online store to order from. It’s a UK based brand, but they ship to the US also.

I order from Boohoo all of the time because their styles are honestly just too cute. I love shopping Boohoo for their bodysuits and shoes especially. Plus, they are always having good sales/discount codes that are sometimes up to 50% off your whole order.

*Helpful hint: follow your favorite shops on Instagram/Twitter to never miss a flash sale again!*

3. SheIn

This is another staple in my online shopping escapades. SheIn is a diamond in the rough, and I was introduced to it randomly back in high school.

Looking for the best online shopping websites for college girls? Find sites similar to Forever21 and ASOS on the Emma Lenhart blog, perfect for the college girl on a budget.

SheIn is based and orders are fulfilled out of China, so there are a couple things to keep in mind. First of all, shipping takes a little bit longer than other brands. I’ve ordered 5-10 pieces from SheIn before and had the pieces come shipped separately, one piece at a time before. Don’t be alarmed! The rest of your package will get there.

Another thing about SheIn is that the sizing chart is a little bit different than stores in America. Because of this, I’ve found that SheIn‘s clothes run to be pretty small. My favorite things to order from SheIn are flowy dresses and graphic tees.

*This post does contain referral and affiliate links.*


Ever wondered how to find a mentor?

If you are looking to set yourself up for success in your industry, consider getting a mentor while in college. Mentors can become your helping hand when trying to move up in your career. Mentorship can provide invaluable advice and connections, and even sometimes great friendship!

Mentorship can provide invaluable advice and connections, and even sometimes great friendship! Click To Tweet

Although it seems that most everyone knows how important mentors are, I find a lot of college students skipping out on them. I understand how busy college life can be, (I am a sophomore myself), but I truly believe that the extra time + work mentors demand are worth it.

Find out 3 different ways to find your next possible mentor!

How to Find a Mentor

How to Find a Mentor

1. Research + Cold-calling

My biggest mentor in my career so far resulted from a cold-call (or cold-email?) But really.

It may sound intimidating, but as long as you do your research on the person you want to get in contact with, things should be fine.

I found the person I wanted to be my mentor by just doing a Google search of the best public relations people in my area. I then found the person’s email and wrote a well-developed email to explain my background + why I wanted to have them as a mentor.

Sometimes people look at a mentorship as being a short meeting once a week. Or maybe a coffee date once a month. A Skype call. An unpaid internship.

The possibilities aren’t really what matters here, but rather the value that you take away from meeting with someone who has extensive experience in your desired career path.

2. Alumni Networks

My school has an online portal for current students to connect with past alumni online. It’s similar to LinkedIn, but it is completely exclusive for people that are legitimate students of that university. Alumni’s contact information is given out freely in alumni networks, and alumni are usually extremely willing to lend a helping hand to someone from their favorite school 😉

When reaching out to someone in an alumni network, make sure to note that you are a current student and looking to expand your network. Let them know that you appreciate their time, and are willing to accommodate your schedule to meet when it best works for them!

3. LinkedIn

If your school doesn’t offer you access to an alumni network, LinkedIn should become your new best friend. LinkedIn is an essential tool in the career world, and the opportunities for making connections and finding jobs are endless.

LinkedIn should become your new best friend. Click To Tweet

Use the LinkedIn search bar at the top of the website to search for professionals in your desired job or industry. You can even narrow your search to look for people in a certain area or city, (which is important if you are planning on meeting in person.)

You can also find potential mentors in different LinkedIn groups. Search for a keyword like “graphic designer” or “architect” in the search bar, and then select Groups from the filters. Ask to join some groups that look interesting to you, and once you are accepted, start interacting with the group. Find people that stand out to you as experts and interesting people in your field. You can then further pursue a relationship with those people, and eventually, ask if they are open to mentorship.

Have any other tips on how to find a mentor? Share your experiences + best tips for landing one in the comments!


It can be hard to keep track of everything and stay organized in college with new classes every semester, clubs, teams, parties (that counts, right?) + more.

I’ve been there before. My freshman year of college was a year of figuring out how to balance school with my social life. I was not organized, missed assignments, and found myself drowning in work sometimes.

Opinion Outpost Banner

However, you learn how to roll with the punches in college and adapt to your new lifestyle. So don’t stress! Plus, I’m here to share a few “hacks” I used my freshman year to stay organized in college and keep on top of homework and assignments.

Stay Organized in College

3 Hacks to Stay Organized in College

1. Use a Planner

Planners make life so much simpler. It may seem like a chore to fill them out and write in all of your assignments, but it’s worth it and keeps you organized. It only takes a few seconds to write out your upcoming due dates for class, and you’ll thank yourself when all of your friends are freaking out about the paper they forgot to write 😉

I like to get myself a super cute and fun planner at the beginning of the year and start on the right foot. Below are a few of my favs for this year:

2. Download Your School App

Not every college/university has their own app, but it’s becoming super popular. So make sure you check to see if your school has one! I was surprised to find that my semi-small school had an app. And after downloading, it changed my life.

My school’s application is iPhone accessible and has a ton of features that saved my butt freshman year. The app has a full map of the campus’ layout, with building names and locations. My school’s app also connected with my online portal and synched my class schedule to the app, so I could always double check the time/place of my classes when I was first starting out on campus.

3. Print Out the Syllabus

One of my college professors once told me that a syllabus is like a contract between the students and teacher. When you receive a syllabus, you are acknowledging that you read everything and understand it.

I get that some people are more digital-oriented. They like to take class notes on their laptop rather than a notebook, etc. However, I really recommend printing out the syllabus for every class in college. It is so much easier to pull out your syllabus in class and look up a due date, rather than pulling out your iPhone in a class that has a strict “no-phone” policy.

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