While we are fighting the good fight, protesting injustices, demanding equality and the right to live while also attempting to protect ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic we have to remember to care for ourselves.
As educators we not only have ourselves to consider but we encounter hundreds of personalities daily. Students, colleagues, administrators, parents. We engage at a high level every single day for hours on end. The relationships that we create while teaching are meaningful ones therefore we can be overcome with feelings of helplessness especially in an uncertain time like this.
Since forever school has been a constant. The academic calendar has been second nature in our society. September to June 8am – 3pm. Clockwork. For students, parents and educators alike. The shutdown has upended our sense of normalcy on a scale that is unprecedented.
Feeling the loss of milestones like graduation, prom, end of year trips, school traditions
Being empathetic to our students as they miss their classmates
Feeling unprepared to be a virtual teacher
Mourning illness and loss of life
Managing our own homes at the same time
This time off from “normal” only heightened the responses to the injustices that have been occurring in the black community. Amaud Aubury. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. 3 names in a list of 100s that were wrongfully killed at the hands of law enforcement or those pretending to be because they were black. The country reached a boiling point and many of us took a stand. Protests. Peaceful and non peaceful sprung up all over evoking a cry for justice. A cry for help.
As a black woman educator from Philly who teaches/counsels black and brown inner city children everyday both circumstances combined affected me in ways that I could not have imagined.
There has been a burden on us educators. It hurts. All of it. There are so many unknowns so many things wrong and most people in education are natural helpers. We want to fix, teach, mold, do. This pandemic has impeded our ability to help in the ways we are accustomed. I have a couple of tips to help us refocus.
1. Have self compassion/ give yourself grace
2. It’s ok not to know no one has all answers
3. Know that this is a shared experience. Many of us are tackling the same stresses. You don’t have to carry the burden alone.
4. Take care of the basics. Get enough sleep, eat enough and more healthy, exercise, drink enough water. Fuel your body so your basic survival tank doesn’t run empty.
5. Feel your feelings. Remember that you are a person too so it is ok to feel it before you deal with it.
6. Unplug – social media, news, youtube less consumption tv/news/social media
7. Express yourself, get in out. Be creative, draw, dance, write, talk. Find a way to release what is inside of you.
8. Educate yourself on things that are stressing you out. Mad about racial injustices read articles about prison reform or police practices, uncertain about teaching virtually? Sign up for a virtual learning webinar. Increase your knowledge base so you can feel more secure.
9. Make a loose daily schedule and dedicated workspace. This will free up mental space if you know what you are doing when and where each day. Less mind pollution.
10. Do not overbook yourself.
11. Just be. Take time. Sit and be still. Breathe. You dont have to be everywhere, doing everything at anytime. Take a moment to be exist in the moment. Do nothing. Go inward if necessary or veg out on TV. We don’t have to be super productive or “on” all the time. Relax.
Be kind to yourself educator. You cannot face this world ready to tackle the perils of Covid 19, racism, police brutality and virtual learning for your students and own children on an empty tank. We’re all in this together. Take care.
Enrollment is down across the board at traditional Colleges (4% according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center) with Freshman enrollment particularly lower year-over-year (19%). Junior/Community Colleges saw a drop of 23% this Fall in first time student enrollment. The primary reason is COVID-19 and the uncertainty it caused last year’s crop of high school seniors. Some students have opted to stay closer to home rather than enroll out-of-state, while others have decided to take a break from education altogether. International students, who have become a key part of many institution’s enrollment strategies in recent years, have faced visa delays, travel bans, and immigration restrictions.
There is some good news on the horizon though. Several different companies have reported very positive results in their vaccine trials and many experts are saying we could begin getting back to normal around May-June 2021. Many of your students live in the now though and aren’t planning ahead. Waiting until May to decide which College (if any) they want to attend next year could be disastrous as many spots could be filled.
Here are some tips you can share with them to get them motivated:
Start planning now: Many Colleges are offering even better financial aid packages to entice students. The earlier they apply the higher chance they have of getting some of those dollars.
College still pays off: Studies have shown over a lifetime College graduates continue to earn substantially more than non-College graduates. Hammer this point home to them.
Expand your career options: Having a college degree opens doors that would otherwise be closed. Ninety-nine percent of jobs created since the Great Recession have gone to workers with at least some college education, according to a 2016 report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
College is fun: The friendships they make will last a lifetime and there are many fun activities they can participate in (Greek life, extracurricular clubs, intramural sports, etc.)
Many of your students may be in a rut due to COVID-19 and the non-traditional senior year they are having to go through this year. Keep them pumped up and looking towards their future. Hopefully, if the experts are right, at this time next year it will be a distant memory and they will be enjoying their first year at their institution of choice!
By now, you’ve surely done several reviews of your students’ college essays – first those early apps and now regular admissions.
Whether they are in the content, structure or polish phase of the essay writing process, it’s important to review slowly.
At Wow, our message is the same for Common App personal statements, UC Personal Insight Questions, activity essays, Why College X essays and every single other type of supplement.
It’s important to read every essay you receive (whether it is a first or final draft) without a red pen, or your hands on the keyboard.
Open the document.
Read it. (Remember, no pen, pencil or keyboard allowed.)
Take a few moments to digest it.
Then ask yourself two key questions:
Question 1: How has this essay improved (from idea to draft or from early draft to later draft)?
Question 2: How could it improve in clarity? (Notice that we did not say “How could it improve?” That question usually leads to “ugh! My students can’t write.” or “I wish it was more elegant.”
Then give your feedback.
Because if you move too fast, you are likely to overdo it. In an effort to improve the essay, you can unintentionally edit out the student’s voice. And that voice is the one thing admissions officers tell us time and again they want. It’s the thing they wish they saw more often.
We know you don’t want to do that!
About the Author
Kim Lifton is President and Co-founder of Wow Writing Workshop a premier college application essay coaching and professional training company, offering private, virtual writing coaching services to professionals and students throughout the world. Since 2009, Wow has been leading the college admissions industry with our unique approach to communicating messages effectively through application essays, including personal statements, activity and short answer essays and supplements. Kim leads a team of writers and teachers who understand the writing process inside and out. Kim blogs regularly about the college essay’s role in the admission process for multiple industry publications and websites.
Want more info on essay reviews? My partner, Susan Knoppow, recorded a Pro Chat all about essay reviews. You can watch a recording here
Free Student Classes starting in February: If you’re a school counselor who wants to help students with the basics, encourage them to sign up for my next free student class, or listen to the recording. You are welcome to sign up, too.
Many of your students will be leaving home for the first time when they go off to College. Here are some great tips from Rooms to Go on decorating their dorm room:
Make the Most of the Space
Square footage is at a premium in university housing, so having some dorm room furniture that can serve multiple roles is key. Whether they want a bed that doubles as a couch or a convenient footrest with hidden storage for game controllers and spare blankets, picking items that maximize their shared space can go a long way.
Beds for Their Dorm Room
Everyone wants a cozy place to sleep, especially hardworking students. There are a range of options that can help them feel refreshed while getting the most out of their space, so finding the best bed is a breeze.
Loft Beds: These raised beds come with an array of features that allow them to save space, as well as personalize it. Choose from options with a built-in desk and sturdy bookshelves so theycan stay neat and organized. Some lofts even have attached seating so they can lounge while they binge-watch their favorite shows between classes.
Futons: A convertible futon offers the comfort of a bed and convenience of a sofa in one compact design. Equipped with plenty of plush cushioning, these pieces create a place to kick back with their roommate or catch a quick catnap before the big exam.
Bunk Beds: Another possibility, if their roomie agrees, would be to get a bunk bed. Ideal for smaller layouts, these beds provide a cushy spot to rest, as well as leaving space for desks, chairs and kitchen appliances in the room. Need storage? Models featuring a trundle can hold clothing and linens.
Dorm Room Desks
Almost as important as the bed is an area to do schoolwork. While most campuses have student lounges or a library students can go to for a few hours, having their own central hub can help them focus when it’s crunch time.
Computer Desk: The perfect size for a laptop, these desks provide a fuss-free way to study in style. With their spacious tops, students have ample room for their computer, as well as any notebooks, textbooks or course material they may need. Add a desk lamp for late-night cram sessions.
Storage Desk: Storage desks offer a place for them to tuck away the clutter when guests stop by. Open shelves are a great way to keep track of binders and loose papers, while large drawers are a handy spot for books, office supplies and any odds and ends they may have lying around.
L-Shaped Desk: Have an empty corner of the room? An L-shaped desk may be just the right fit. Built with enough room for two computers, some models allow them and their roommate to work side-by-side comfortably. With the additional space, they will have enough surface area for all of their course materials, books and packets of ramen.
Other Dorm Room Essentials
Want to make their dorm feel like home? Picking out unique accessories, whether it’s lighting or accent pieces, can allow their personality to shine through. With multiple hues and designs, there are many ways to make their dorm decor special.
Ottomans: A useful choice for any dorm, an ottoman can function in many different ways. Use one as a footrest when friends come over or as a coffee table by using it to hold snacks and drinks. Some types also have storage for even more functionality.
Throw Pillows: Add a touch of style to their abode with a few chic toss pillows. They can pile these cushions in a corner to create a cozy reading spot or scatter them over their bed to transform their mattress into a comfy seating.
Rugs: Spice up their floors with a rug. Select from an assortment of shades and patterns to complement their design. If they share their room, they can also use these carpets to establish clear sections so that everybody has their own area.
Lighting: The harsh overhead fluorescents in many dorms can be less than ideal. Counteract this effect with ambient lighting from desk and floor lamps. This way, they can turn up the brightness for group study sessions, lower it for a relaxing evening in or use focused lighting to read in bed.
Wall Decor: Upgrade from the typical dorm decor of unframed posters with some artwork. Try hanging a couple of vibrant prints to add some color to neutral palettes. Mirrors are another stylish option that also have the benefit of making the room seem larger.
Remember to check the school’s guidelines when selecting dorm decor, especially before putting holes in the walls. Consider using damage-free adhesive hooks to prevent surprise expenses at the end of the semester.
Ace Their Dorm Design
When deciding what to take with them to their new dorm, always consider versatility. Look for multipurpose items to make the most of their space, and keep in mind how they will need the room to function. With these dorm room ideas, they will be ready to design the perfect spot to sleep, study, relax and entertain.
I know we’re all tired of constantly being reminded just how different 2020 has been, but think about just HOW different it has been for college freshmen. They visited colleges, researched a variety of schools, made their final lists, they wrote their essays on why they wanted to attend each school, they jumped for joy when the acceptances rolled in and adjusted to the tough news of a rejection. And then, they made a decision on where they were going to spend the next four years of their lives. Covid was supposed to go away over the summer and then their fall semester was going to be everything they dreamt about. They anticipated attending sporting events, going to parties, making new friends from their dorms and their classes, participating in Greek life, etc. We all know none, or very little of that actually happened. What an unfortunate disappointment for them.
Many students have spent the fall semester at home learning remotely and while it works for some, it clearly is not as rewarding or engaging as being in a classroom with a fascinating professor and stimulating discussions. For some freshmen, it just isn’t worth the price tag and they are reconsidering their options for next year.
What happens when you and your child determine that it is either Covid’s fault or they chose their college for many, if not, all the wrong reasons? They’re unhappy. You’ve tried talking it through, you’ve tried tough love, it just isn’t a good fit and they want to leave.
Good Reasons to Consider Transferring
Financial Necessity – “Why do you want to pay for me to be unhappy?” It is a tough argument to refute when you could be paying as much as $25,000 a semester. The economic plea will resonate with parents, especially as we are coping with the unpredictability of the timing of a vaccine.
A “Major” Discovery – Many students enter college undecided about their majors, then they take an interesting course and get hooked. But their college doesn’t offer their new passion as a major and they want to transfer. Far more common however is the student that said they “knew” they wanted to be a biomedical engineer, is eking through introductory engineering course and now says “What was I thinking?” If your student has genuinely become passionate about Environmental Management, or some other specialized major, and they’ve researched colleges with strong departments and you believe their decision is rational versus emotional, this could be a very good reason to transfer.
Academic Upgrade – If your student isn’t being sufficiently challenged and is beginning to lose interest in their academics, transferring to a more competitive college could be the answer. It is important to note though that being a star performer at any college will have its own rewards including research opportunities, stellar letters of recommendation, strong graduate school admissions and career recruitment.
Recognition of Needs – Often students from small high schools will select large colleges and universities declaring that they “want something different”. Most students adjust quite well. However, some students who are accustomed to a degree of hand-holding; from their parents and/or their high schools are jarred by their newfound independence. They often feel that the university is too big and impersonal and want a more intimate learning environment.
Culture Clash – Sometimes the party scene at colleges can be too intense. It also happens, although not as frequently, that students feel that there isn’t enough of a social atmosphere at their college. In both cases, these could be temporary situations. Before targeting transferring as a solution, be sure to discuss the issues and recommend other options.
Family Obligations – Some family situations will be aided by having your son or daughter closer to home. If you can anticipate that the crisis is short-term it might be better to consider a “leave of absence” from college.
The customary code of polite behavior in social and professional settings
Here are 5 basic rules you should try to adhere to:
Rule #1: Always include a subject and include the recipient’s name in the greeting
Rule #2: Do not write in ALL CAPITALS! Writing in all capitals may convey that you are shouting in your message; and nobody likes to be yelled at! Consider other ways to get your message across and communicate its importance. Using all capitals is not appropriate and can trigger an unintended response.
Rule #3: Be mindful when using abbreviations and emoticons. Save abbreviations like LOL and IDK for text messages with friends. Some may not understand your abbreviations and they are not professional.
Rule #4: Think, review, and proofread before you send! Ask yourself “is this okay to send?” and “did I reread and review this?”
Rule #5: Do not send if… ● The information could hurt/offend/embarrass someone ● The email can be interpreted in a bad way ● The information is not important to share in school or the workplace ● The email could get you in trouble
Here are some general Do’s vs Don’ts:
•Be clear and concise •Include your name and the course name each time you email the teacher •Use professional language •Remember that there will be a permanent written record of your words once you click send •Use a salutation “Thank you for your time!”
•Use keywords which trigger mail to collect as junk mail or spam mail filter •WRITE IN ALL CAPS! •Use informal abbreviations or shorthand common to text-messaging: •gr8 2day LOL OMG TTYL!!!!!!!!!!
These tips are courtesy of Deanna Coyne, School Counselor with Grand Rapids Public Schools and Brittany Mellandorf, School Counselor with Insight School of Michigan
A lot has changed this year with COVID-19 and College Admissions is no exception. Good Housekeeping outlined 4 tips your students can use as they begin planning for College:
Don’t sweat test scores: Many schools have gone test-optional or test-blind (meaning they won’t look at ACT or SAT scores even if submitted) this year. And when colleges say test scores don’t matter, they mean it.
Attend virtual events: There are no in-person College fairs this year. Many colleges have pivoted to virtual events that offer an even better opportunity to learn about them. Those sessions let even shy attendees talk to current students, professors and counselors via a chat box.
Cast a wide net: Students should apply to at least six schools — including safety schools, match schools and reach schools. That way, they can pivot if they don’t feel safe traveling far, their finances change or their dream school goes virtual.
Don’t let the price scare themoff: Once financial aid and scholarships are factored in as well as the likelihood of graduating within four to six years, a private school might end up being the cheapest option.
These tips were from an article in Good Housekeeping. Subscribe to Good Housekeepinghere.
Scholarships play a vital role in reducing student loan debt and expanding access to higher education. There are many great sources of scholarships including companies that compile lists of available scholarships such as Fastweb, Scholarship Owl, etc. and most College’s offer scholarships for various majors/types of students.
The number of scholarships awarded has increased by over 45% in the last 10 years.
Each year, an estimated $46 billion in grants and scholarship money is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education and the nation’s colleges and universities. An additional $7.4 billion is awarded through private scholarships and fellowships.
An estimated $100 million in scholarships goes unawarded each year. This is mostly due to a lack of applicants. There’s plenty of money out there to help pay tuition, you just need to find it and work for it!
An estimated $2.6 billion in Pell Grants were left unclaimed in 2018-2019 Academic Year. Make sure you take advantage of all the “free” money you can find to help pay for school by filling out the FAFSA.
Scholarship providers evaluate many factors when selecting scholarship recipients, not just grades. You don’t have to have a 4.0 GPA to be considered for a scholarship.
There area many career paths a students can take after High School. College is the most popular path that parents and Counselors ingrain in their children/students as they go through the education system but for various reasons many students decide College isn’t for them. Those can range from the cost of College, to a lack of interest in attending College or just that they have other interests. Some careers don’t require any formal training at all; an artist, writer, or musician could hit it big without ever studying their art in a classroom setting. Here are some options for those students that are investigating other career paths:
Gap Year: After High School one option for students is to take a gap year. This enables them to travel, investigate other options, etc. before starting that college journey. At the end of a gap year, a student should have a clearer idea of what they enjoy doing and what they do not and have learned what the rest of their life after college may be like.
Community Colleges and Trade Schools: Community Colleges are less expensive and many schools offer an easy seamless transfer of credits to a 4-year University. Some community colleges also offer ‘dual enrollment’ with nearby high schools, so you may have earned some credits from there before graduating. Trade schools offer great programs to help students learn skills in many disciplines that are needed in society (AC/Heating, Welding, Graphic Design, CAD, etc.). Because of their shorter length, they are often more affordable than universities or even community colleges.
Online Classes: Not wanting to attend classes in person? Many schools now offer online only classes where the student can earn a degree without ever having set foot on the campus.
Military Careers: Military careers can be a great option. Students that pursue this career path can earn money that can be used for college later and also earn other great benefits for later in life (Pension, Healthcare, etc.)
Internships: Not sure what they want to do in life yet? An internship can be a great way to explore career options. While internships are often done through schools or colleges, it’s entirely possible to apply for and gain an internship without the help of an institution. Employers are always looking for students they can hire as interns on an interim basis. There are many cases of interns that years later ended up running the company they interned for when they were in High School or College.
Plagiarism is unethical and unprofessional. It might seem like a tempting option to some students, but beware- you can never get away with that sort of thing. Blatantly copying someone else’s work and passing it off as your own is not only morally wrong but also illegal. Yes, you read that right, plagiarism can cost you your academic career.
Teachers often have to check several assignments and research papers. As they will be handling more number of student’s work. The time constraints and pressure can lead to mistakes. Plagiarism checking tools save teachers a lot of time and trouble.
The most used tool by the universities is Turnitin. These tools are designed to help the university to meet with deadlines without any mistakes. All you have to do is run your paper through Turnitin and you get a list of all the possible sources that your content may be copied from.
In this process, first a collection of multiple substrings are chosen. These strings showcase fingerprints. The elements that show a match/ are the same is called minutiae. The fingerprints are calculated in the form of a document. The minutiae are mapped to the index of fingerprints. The source value is set to give results of the process. It is adopted to increase the speed of the process.
String Matching process.
This technique is used in the information science industry to create a second approach. Postfix trees used to approach. The lengthier documents are not advisable to be scanned. Bag of the word is another method applied to locate plagiarised content. This approach displays the adoption of vector space retrieval.
Citation based plagiarism detection
This examination depends on the citation. Text form content analysis is not measured in this. Computer science assignments can be the best example to describe this approach. The uniqueness in this source is searched in other citation distributions. The model of this process lives. Yet techniques are not yet fostered. The order is searched to see the relatability between two documents. Relative fractions are the framework giving good search.
Here are some way university check plagiarism in academic papers
1. Writing Styles
Experience with a student’s writing style helps to discover if the paper is plagiarized or not. There can be crude and complicated sentences; this indicates the content is plagiarized. Unusual phrases that seem inconsistent with past writing samples are also good indicators. If a doubt arises, the teacher may ask a conference to assess a student’s knowledge with his paper. Uneven order of sentences is wrong according to anti-plagiarism guidelines.
2. Plagiarism Tools
Teachers and university professionals often have a fair idea when a student submits unoriginal or copied assignments. The writing style and structure of the paper is a dead giveaway. Other than that most colleges also prefer to run the papers through a plagiarism checking software.
Duplichecker, Plagiarism Detector, Small SEO tools etc. are some other popular tools used by the university to prevent plagiarism. Teachers often ask students to submit their work straight through the service site. It produces email if any plagiarism is detected. These services can scan students’ papers. Additionally, essays upon a database of earlier submitted papers. Meeting web links and phrases are then organized into a report for the college review.
Best thing students can do is write their own words. Always cite the sources and use good plagiarism tools to avoid errors.
3. Screening Software
Universities were using software programs as a shield against plagiarism during 1990. Professors can detect if the material comes from an online essay or paper mills. This can be a cheating method. But many sites recycle similar content and sources. This can increase the student’s risk of detection.
Universities also run college application essays and research paper proposals through these screening platforms. Any detection of unoriginal content would result in your application getting rejected.
Suspicious papers may have differences that teachers are habitual to over their career. Unsuitable subheads, mixture tables, margins are often a red flag. If students do not follow the norms of writing style is also plagiarism. Mixed statement style can also show students have copy-pasted the paragraph. Using resources that are not at the university shows students have stolen the text.
5. Other Applications
Anti-plagiarism platforms put applications above academia. According to “The Los Angeles Times”, more than 100 college use programs like turnitin.com. It helps to evaluate essays in admission packages for plagiarism. More of this analysis occurs at the graduation level.
Any form of plagiarism detection can cost you an entire year or worse at the university. Teachers also check for plagiarism when reading through college application essays. Be very careful about your application, a few common mistakes can lead to your application getting rejected.
6. When the paper does not fit the topic
It is better to give a prompt for assignments. This helps students to get a better view of the assignment. So that they avoid writing paper by another writer. If teachers can brief out the assignment, then you can get slightly crooked from what you asked for.
7. Change inflow
Sudden change in the sentence/flow gets lost then there is a chance of text getting plagiarised.
This can be the most found error. This can be more complex than other factors above.
When applying an idea or words that’s not your own add a citation to your writing. Ensure you state the name of the source, date published and other things related to citation.
If you are inserting source words into your content, use quotation marks around the text. This can be an easy way to avoid plagiarism. A direct quote must also cite the source that readers know who have written those content.
Paraphrasing is applying a source’s idea in your own words, without altering its meaning. One should be careful paraphrasing can also turn into plagiarism if done the wrong way. Uniquely format your words and try evading using similar words from the source. The objective is to do without changing the meaning of the idea itself.
Instead of repeating the source idea or word, try putting what you want to say about the topic in your way. Think how uniquely you can share an idea or words. If you are implying the source idea to your point, you must follow guidelines to avoid plagiarism.
While writing your paper, some phrases you might have to include without citation. When in doubt use plagiarism checking tools. It helps you to detect issues before submitting.
The technology has forced universities to embrace trending strategies to tackle plagiarism. While checking the high volume of papers, teachers can use tools to examine words and phrases. When time grants traditional methods like reviewing/writing styles can be followed. In other cases, most universities may choose a service to secure academic honesty.
As an assignment expert, Jane Crighton delivers online sessions at Expert Assignment Help(UK), helping students with writing essays and assignments. She is also one of the co-founders and education consultants at Top My Grades. Beyond work, you can find her at community homework workshops as a volunteer helping students in need of private tutoring with their homework.