The importance of extracurriculars
Extracurricular activities aren’t just a way for you to pursue your hobbies – they can also show prospective colleges what makes you a stand out as an applicant. But with all the available options, it can be hard to know how to get involved or what you should focus on. Here are some things to keep in mind while you’re considering extracurriculars:
- Choose quality over quantity. Get involved in a few activities over a longer period of time rather than a lot of activities during your senior year. Try to find a couple of extracurriculars you really enjoy and focus as much time and energy as you can on them.
- Play to your strengths. It’s tempting to get involved in popular activities or in ones that you think will seem the most impressive to colleges. But if you stick to extracurriculars that show off your skills, you’ll not only be happier, you’ll be putting your best foot forward on college applications.
- Develop leadership skills. The good news is that, no matter what activity you’ve chosen, it’s possible to develop this important trait. Whether you’re playing a sport, acting in a play, volunteering, writing a blog, or enjoying multiplayer video games, you can be an example to others.
- Get involved in your community. Are you passionate about the environment? Interested in helping kids learn how to read? Extracurriculars don’t just have to be a hobby – if you volunteer at a local food depository or wash cars as a fundraiser for a charity you care about, you’re developing character and skills that will be invaluable as you begin college.
Every semester in college brings exams, and exams may mean cramming a lot of studying into a short amount of time. If your student’s looking at some serious cram time, give them a little extra help with an Exam Cram Care Package. Consider including items like the following:
Exam Cram care package
- Stress ball
- Exam blue books
- Pens, pencils, highlighters
- Tea bags
- Instant oatmeal
- Mini Zen garden
- Vitamin C drops
- Travel coffee mug
Exams can have your student pining for a time when life was a little simpler. Here’s how they can get a little boost of nostalgia and reconnect with old friends.
Even if your student is eager to get caught up in university life, we’ve got no doubt they’ll get a little homesick from time to time. Send them some of the comforts of home with a No Place Like Home Care Package, and consider including items like the following:
No Place Like Home care package
• Homemade cookies
• Security blanket
• Pillow from home
• Old childhood toys
• Drink mix (cider, cocoa, etc)
• Homemade preserves
• Electric candles
• Hand-written note
• Framed photograph of family and/or family pet
Need some ideas for having fun when your student comes home? Check out these great ‘staycation’ ideas.
Their first time away from home, college students get wrapped up in study, friendship and college activities, and they might let the little things slide. Help them stay fresh with a Keep It Clean Care Package, which can include:
Keep It Clean care package
• Antibacterial spray
• Towels and wash cloths
• Loofa & soap
• Shower slippers
• Laundry pods, laundry basket and laundry bag
• Shower caddy
• Expandable cup
• Lint roller
• Shower brush
• Toy duck
• Rubber gloves
Clean living keeps you going, and clean credit helps you live better. Read these tips on how your student can manage their credit cards.
Send notes to those who helped you make it to college
It’s happening – you’ve graduated high school, been accepted into college, and will soon be settling into a brand-new rhythm of life. But before you pack your bags and start your next adventure, here are a few ways you can thank those who have helped you make it this far:
- Make a list before you start. From grandparents to teachers to close friends, make a careful list of all the people who have supported you emotionally and financially over the years. You don’t want to forget anybody.
- Send thank-you cards. Whether you invest in nice stationery or use online resources like Paperless Post, American Greetings, or Vistaprint, say thank you to those who have helped you with a personal card.
- Say it out loud. Take a moment during your graduation party or going-away party to recognize those who have supported you.
- Use social media. Use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to share photos and stories so they can see how you’re doing.
Make them proud. They’ve helped you get this far – now it’s up to you to work hard and succeed as much in college as you did before college!
How will you say thanks to those who have helped you make it to college?
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Want your student to start off on the right foot with their roommate? A Roommate Diplomacy Care Package can make everyone’s life easier. Include items like the following:
Roommate Diplomacy care package
• Chess, checkers, jumbling tower, deck of cards
• Dry-erase board (for writing up chores and duties)
• Sleep mask & nose strips
• Air freshener
• “Do Not Disturb” door hanger
• Snacks (cheese puffs, pretzels & popcorn)
• Personal fan
Nip your student’s dorm drama in the bud. Check out this article on how they can avoid roommate issues by splitting it down the middle.
Moving in to a new dorm room and making it “yours” is important for the new college student, and there’s no way they’re going to remember everything. Help them transform their space into something they can truly call theirs with a Moving In Care Package. Try including items like the following:
Moving In care package
• Yoga DVD
• Novelty lamp
• Fun desk toys
• Organization store gift card
• “Dorm Room Feng Shui” book
• Snacks (apples, cheese puffs, gumballs, gummy bears, mints)
Now that your student has moved in to college, don’t let them just camp out in their room! Share these ideas for how they can get involved on campus.
Establish a budget
A well planned budget is like a good workout plan: it maximizes your resources and minimizes the impact of life’s potential surprises. That’s why establishing one and sticking to it can be a great way to get financially fit for your freshman year. Follow these tips, and you’ll hit the ground running when you get to college:
- Track your spending. Keep an honest account of what you’re spending money on for a couple of months before you make your budget. This will help you identify your priorities and any areas where you might need to plan a little bit more.
- Make a list of your income and expenses. Use Wells Fargo’s Cash Flow Worksheet or My Money Map to help document where your money is coming from – your job or federal work-study, for example – and what expenses you might have, housing, gas, food, study materials, etc.
- See what’s left. After totaling your income and expenses, see how much you have left over. This money can be put into savings, set aside for trips home, or used for entertainment and other outings.
- Set clear goals. Do you want to build your savings account? Take a fun trip over spring break? While you’re looking at what money is available and where it is going, you can set clear financial goals for yourself and know exactly how much you need to set aside each week or month.
- Stick to it. A budget can be a tremendous asset but only if you stick to it. You might need to adjust it over the next few months as you become more familiar with your spending habits. If you’re still finding it difficult to follow, sit down and take another look at it. Remember, your hard work will pay off in the end – and can help make your financial goals a reality.
Share how you’re getting financially fit for college
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