Signs of Depression in College Students

Signs of Depression in College Students

Going to college is a long-awaited time for many young people. It is a time full of new experiences, self-discovery, and freedom. However, this sudden change can act as a catalyst for depression and anxiety. In fact, studies show that one in four college students struggles with mental illness.

College students are particularly susceptible to depression. For most, it is the first time away from home. With the additional pressure of achieving academic success, making new friends, doing chores, and managing expenses.

And as if college isn’t stressful enough, the pandemic forced students into confinement and erupted feelings of isolation and uncertainty about the future. Also, it dramatically changed routines, physical activity, sleep, and time use. Not to mention social interaction and connection.

Recent data reveals that 61% of university students are at risk of developing clinical depression. This means the rate has doubled since the start of the pandemic. In less than a year depression, anxiety, and burnout rates skyrocketed.

The impact of the pandemic will continue to have its toll on college students’ both physical and emotional well-being. So, more than ever it is important to pay attention to signs of depression in college students.


Depression in College Students

We all have days when it is hard to get out of bed. But what happens if those days turn into weeks, or even months, until the point where we feel disconnected from our own lives.

Sadness and depression are two very different things. You can feel sad whenever you’ve experienced an upsetting situation or have a really bad day. Usually, this feeling doesn’t last long and it doesn’t stand in the way of your day.

A lot of times we borrow the term “depressed” to say we are feeling sad. However, the real meaning of depression is a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest for at least two weeks or longer. These feelings can make it really hard to keep with our daily routines, like getting up in the morning, going to class, studying, and even enjoying the things that we used to love.

When it comes to depression, people can feel so low and hopeless that they have thoughts of hurting themselves, death, or suicide. So, it is not just something you can “snap out” off and it is definitely not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is something that you shouldn’t have to face alone.


Common Signs of Depression in College Students

Depression can feel and look different for each person. Some people are more likely to feel sad, worthless, and overwhelmed. Others can be more irritable, moody, and tired.

Do any of these feelings sound familiar? Does it remind you of a fellow student, a close friend, or even yourself? Here are some symptoms of depression you should be on the lookout for:

Persistent Sadness and Irritability

While some signs of depression are more clear, like sadness and crying, others, like irritability and difficulty concentrating, are less associated with it.

Depression can be a rollercoaster of negative emotions. Where in a blink of an eye you can go down to sad, go all the way up to angry, and end up feeling empty. This means that you can experience sudden outbursts that are triggered by subtle or unknown events. So, if you recognize a pattern of mood swings that last more than a couple of days, it may be a symptom of depression.

Irregular Sleeping and Changing in Appetite

Depression can affect our sleep schedules in different forms. It can compel us to sleep all day long, but it also can mean not being able to sleep at all. Sometimes, this can create a cycle where our lack of sleep increases our anxiety levels, and in turn, our anxious thoughts keep us awake night after night.

Also, if you are not sleeping well it can impact your appetite. Sleep helps regulate our hunger hormones, to keep us from undereating and overeating. So, some people may experience an increased appetite, while others may not feel hungry at all.Isolation and Disinterest in Social Activities

When you’re depressed, you tend to isolate yourself and have more difficulty connecting with others. You may begin to avoid social situations, like spending time with your friends or going to class and take less pleasure in things you used to enjoy.

As time goes by, you will find yourself completely isolated from peers, family, and others you care about. This is a telling sign of depression and can often perpetuate more feelings of loneliness, isolation, and sadness.

Physical Symptoms and Pain

Besides severe emotional pain, depression can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, digestive problems, muscle aches, chest pain, and other kinds of inexplicable pain.

These symptoms can be severe, long-lasting, and cause great discomfort. They are also more difficult to hide, so they can be helpful warning signs.

Keep in mind that the signs of depression aren’t always visible. There are a lot of people that successfully conceal their symptoms, particularly when they feel ashamed or afraid of being judged.

Top Merit-Based Scholarships

Top Merit-Based Scholarships

This article rticle was written by and 

Merit scholarships can be awarded by both colleges and universities, as well as private organizations. Below we have organized the top merit scholarships into the following groups:

Merit scholarships at public colleges & universities

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)

  • Alabama offers a wide range of merit programs available to students both in-state and out

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)

  • ASU offers a number of generous need- and merit-based scholarship programs for students

Auburn University (Auburn, AL)

  • Offers the National Scholars Presidential Scholarship to National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists
  • This program awards full-tuition scholarships to students both in-state and out-of-state, along with several other perks (including a $1,000 technology stipend)

University of California- Berkeley

  • UC-Berkeley offers scholarships based on both need and merit

University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, Colorado)

  • UC-Boulder offers a variety of merit- and need-based scholarship programs to both in-state and out-of-state students

Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)

  • Several merit programs are offered, the largest and most prestigious of which is the President’s Scholarship
  • The President’s Scholarship is offered to 50 of the top high school senior applicants

University of Michigan- Ann Arbor

  • The University of Michigan offers mostly need-based, but several merit scholarships as well

University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

  • Several full-tuition merit scholarships available to students both in-state and out-of-state

University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

  • For UVa’s Jefferson Scholars program, in-state scholars receive $26,000 each year, and out-of-state or international Jefferson Scholars will receive an annual stipend of over $53,000
  • This program creates a network of current scholars and alumni, along with providing a variety of structured enrichment opportunities to scholars

College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA)

  • Merit programs include the 1693 Scholars Program and the Monroe Scholars Program ($3,000 research stipend, special housing option)

Merit scholarships at private national universities

Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)

  • Offers a full-tuition merit scholarship (the Presidential Scholars Program) to 15 students
  • No separate application is required to be considered for the scholarship, although students must apply through the Early Action application process

Boston University (Boston, MA)

  • BU has generous scholarship opportunities including both need-based and merit-based scholarships

Brandeis College (Waltham, MA)

  • Six separate programs available, five of which are for incoming freshmen (with one for rising juniors)

Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)

  • Carnegie Mellon University offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students on the basis of both merit and financial need

Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

  • Case Western Reserve University has several scholarships that students are automatically considered for, as well as scholarships by additional application

Duke University (Durham, NC)

  • Duke offers 9 merit programs which include full-tuition scholarships

Elon University (Elon, NC)

  • Elon offers merit- and need-based programs to students

Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

  • Check out the Georgetown Incentive Scholarships for need-based aid with a merit component

Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)

  • A number of merit scholarship programs are offered, including several specific to the arts (look under “Academic Merit Awards/Scholarships”)

New York University (New York, NY)

  • NYU offers a mix of merit and need-based programs for students

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)

  • The Rensselaer Medal Scholarship is a 4-year, minimum $15,000 per year merit scholarship

Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)

  • SMU offers merit scholarships up to full tuition & room/board!
  • Other scholarships also include awards for students in specific majors (such as Engineering, the arts, and STEM)

University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

  • UChicago offers merit scholarships and scholarships specifically meant for first-generation college students

University of Miami (Miami, Florida)

  • A number of full-tuition merit scholarships are offered, including the Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholarship and the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship

University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)

  • The University of Rochester offers a wide variety of merit scholarships for all different types of students

University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

  • USC offers a number of full-tuition, half-tuition, and quarter-tuition merit scholarships

Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)

  • All students are considered for partial tuition scholarships by simply submitting their application
  • There are 130 full tuition scholarships awarded that require a separate scholarship application (that is due on December 5th)y

Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

  • Full-tuition awards plus summer stipends for study abroad, research or service projects will be awarded to 250 students; other, smaller merit programs are also available

Villanova University

  • Villanova University awards a number of scholarships based on students’ academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and leadership skills. Awards range from $500 all the way to the prestigious Presidential Scholarship, which covers full tuition, room, board, general fees, and textbooks for eight semesters

Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)

  • WFU has a wide variety of merit programs available to incoming students, including general merit scholarships (such as the Reynolds Scholarships) and scholarships recognizing achievement in art, dance, debate, music, and theater (Presidential Scholarships for Distinguished Achievement)

Washington University in St. Louis

  • Washington Universities’ Danforth, Ervin, and Rodriguez Scholar Programs are all merit-based scholarship programs ranging up to the full cost of tuition

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers merit scholarships to students ranging from $10,000 per year to $25,000 per year

Merit scholarships at small liberal arts colleges

Denison University (Granville, OH)

  • Denison offers over 1000 scholarships to first year students
  • Scholarships range from $2,000 to $46,000

Kenyon College (Gambier, OH)

  • Merit scholarships range from $15,000 per year to the full cost of tuition
  • Kenyon awards merit aid to about the top 15% of admitted students
  • Scholarships for students talented in art, creative writing, and music are also available

Macalester College (St. Paul, MN)

  • Merit scholarships awarded to approximately 50% of U.S. first-year students
  • Macalester (unlike many top schools) also offers merit scholarships to International Students
  • Merit awards range from $2,000 to $64,000 over four years

Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA)

  • Grinnell offers several merit scholarship programs which range from $10,000 to $50,000 per year

Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)

  • Oberlin offers merit scholarships based on academics and also “contributions to the student’s school and home community.”

Private merit scholarships

Cameron Impact Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Graduating  high school seniors in the USA
  • Amount: $20,000
  • Deadline: End of October of each year

Coca Cola Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Graduating  high school seniors in the USA
  • Amount: $20,000
  • Deadline: End of October of each year

College JumpStart Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Students in grades 10 to 12, as well as traditional college-age and adult learners
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: April 15 and October 17 of each year

Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Current high school seniors who are citizens of the United States are eligible to apply
  • Amount: 500 awards worth from $4,000 to $5,000
  • Deadline: Mid-November of each year

Equitable Excellence Scholarship 

  • Eligibility: High-achieving United States citizens or legal residents in the 50 United States, Washington, D.C., or Puerto Rico who are seniors in high school planning on attending a two or four year college or  university
  • Amount:  $2,500, $10,000 or $25,000
  • Deadline: Mid-December of each year (after 10,000 applications are submitted, scholarship closes, so apply asap!)

National Merit Scholarship Program

  • Eligibility: High school juniors and is based on their PSAT score
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: Early October of each year

Tips for applying to merit-based scholarships

Here are six important things you need to know if you want to win a college merit scholarship:

Choose the right colleges 

One of the biggest mistakes students make when building their college list is not paying enough attention to merit scholarships. As a rule of thumb, you want to identify colleges where your admissions “stats” align with the percentage of students winning merit scholarships.

So, if a college offers merit scholarships to 25% of applicants, you should be in the top 25% of applicants as far as test scores and GPA. Scattergrams are a great way to assess how your GPA and test scores stack up.

Research the specific scholarships

College merit scholarships can vary from college to college. At some schools, all admitted students are automatically considered for merit scholarships.

At other colleges, students will need to complete an essay, separate application, or interview as part of the scholarship application process. Some colleges will even offer merit scholarships for students who have a specific talent in art, music, theater, or another area. 

Cast a wide(ish) net

If you are serious about winning a merit scholarship at a specific college, you will need to cast a wide net. While being towards the top of the applicant pool will generally make you a strong candidate for merit scholarships, there are no guarantees.

This is why we recommend that you apply to 10 colleges where you will be seriously competitive for merit scholarships. This will increase your odds of having a few merit scholarship offers to choose from.

Mind your deadlines

Some colleges will ask students to apply by a specific deadline to be eligible for merit scholarships. Make sure that you are applying by the necessary deadlines (remember, this deadline may be different than the admissions deadline).

Don’t forget to apply for need-based financial aid too

Remember, you can apply for both merit scholarships and need-based financial aid! Make sure that you submit your FAFSA and any other required financial aid documents such as the CSS Profile by the necessary deadline.

This will ensure that you are being considered for all potential scholarships–merit and need-based–at the colleges on your list.

Read the fine print about scholarship renewal

Certain schools might require you to submit evidence that you’re maintaining a certain GPA or meeting other requirements to remain eligible for your award.

It’s essential to stay on top of any continuing obligations to your school’s financial aid office.

Need-based financial aid will also need to be renewed, so make sure you understand what the FAFSA renewal process entails!

Tips For Talking To Your Middle School Child About Their Learning Disabilities

Tips For Talking To Your Middle School Child About Their Learning Disabilities

Published by the Churchill Center and School

Explaining a learning disability diagnosis to your child isn’t easy, but it’s important to take this opportunity to create an open and honest dialogue. While every student is different, there are steps you can take to make this conversation more comfortable and helpful for both parent and child.

  • Be Open and Honest with Yourself

    A learning disability diagnosis can be tough for some parents. You may feel guilty, alone, or confused about how best to help your child. To combat feelings of isolation and inexperience, seek out a community of parents who can relate to your situation and offer personal advice.

  • Get Informed

    The more you know about your child’s specific learning disability, the better. Plenty of great resources are available from your local library or online. We recommend Churchill’s Learning Disability ResourcesUnderstood, and LD Online.

  • Frame It as an Ongoing Conversation

    It’s impossible to answer all of your child’s questions and concerns in one conversation, so don’t feel like you have to. Think of this as a gradual, informal, and sequential discussion that will take place throughout your child’s life.

  • Be Open and Honest with Your Child

    Self-knowledge is critical for your child’s self-esteem and motivation. Knowing that he or she has a diagnosed and treatable condition is comforting — especially as opposed to the alternative of not knowing what is wrong or why school is difficult. With that in mind, don’t hide or sugarcoat the issue for your child.

  • Explain What the Disorder Is (and Isn’t)

    “Dyslexia” and “ADHD” don’t mean much to a young child. Take the opportunity to explain what the disorder is and how it affects the way they learn. Also clear up any misconceptions that your child may have about the diagnosis, for example, “I’m stupid,” or “Dysgraphia will go away when I get older.”

  • Try Not to Overwhelm

    Keep your child’s vocabulary in mind when explaining his or her learning disability. Use words that are familiar to him or her — for example, you may describe ADHD to a five-year-old as “wiggly,” but introduce more clinical terms for an older child, such as “distractible.” Aim to provide small, digestible amounts of information in a series of conversations rather than cramming in all the details at once.2

  • Give Them Someone To Relate To

    It’s easy for a child with learning disabilities to feel isolated and alone. Talk about people the child knows who has dealt with similar diagnoses — whether a parent, neighbor, or teacher. Remind your child that while it isn’t always easy for this person, they found strategies that help.

  • Stay Positive

    Amidst all of this conversation about what your child can’t do, be sure to remind them of all the things they can do. Point out specific strengths, for example, “You’re great at multiplication tables,” or “Skating and hockey are easy for you.

  • Identify Your Child’s Support System

    It’s important for children with learning disabilities to know that they are not alone. Make a list of all of the people who are there to support your child — whether parents, siblings, teachers, tutors or otherwise.


Responding to Common Myths Children Have About Learning Disabilities


MYTH: I have a learning disability. That means I’m stupid.

Fact:Your learning disability may make certain tasks harder, but it does not mean you’re not as smart as other students. Things that are easy for you may be hard for other students.

MYTH: My learning disability will go away when I’m in high school.

Fact:You’ll find ways to make it easier to do the things that are hard for you, but your learning disability is something that will stay with you throughout your whole life.

MYTH: I’ll never be able to do the things that are hard for me.

Fact:You may have to work harder than the other students in your class, but there are strategies you can learn that will help you do the things that are hard for you. Plenty of people with learning disabilities learn to read, write, do long division, and any of the things that are tough for them.

MYTH: It’s unfair for me to get special accommodations, like extra time on tests.

Fact:Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same thing. According to the law, students with learning disabilities are allowed to have certain accommodations to help them succeed in school. You don’t have to feel embarrassed or guilty about using these resources.

MYTH: Not many other children have learning disabilities like me.

Fact:Studies show that 10-15% of school-aged children have a learning disability. There are plenty of students with learning issues similar to yours.1


Exploring Early Decision and Early Action

Exploring Early Decision and Early Action

Early decision (ED) and early action (EA) plans can be beneficial to students who have thought through their college options carefully and have a clear preference for one institution.

Counselors need to make sure that students understand the key distinction between the two plans:

  • Early decision plans are binding: A student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college.
  • Early action plans are nonbinding: Students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1.

Approximately 450 colleges have early decision or early action plans, and some have both. Some colleges offer a nonbinding option called single-choice early action, under which applicants may not apply ED or EA to any other college.

ED plans have come under fire as unfair to students from families with low incomes, since they do not have the opportunity to compare financial aid offers. This may give an unfair advantage to applicants from families who have more financial resources.

ED Applicants

  • Apply early (usually in November) to first-choice college.
  • Receive an admission decision from the college well in advance of the usual notification date (usually by December).
  • Agree to attend the college if accepted and offered a financial aid package that is considered adequate by the family.
  • Apply to only one college early decision.
  • Apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.
  • Withdraw all other applications if accepted by ED.
  • Send a nonrefundable deposit well in advance of May 1.

EA Applicants

  • Apply early.
  • Receive an admission decision early in the admission cycle (usually in January or February).
  • Consider acceptance offer; do not have to commit upon receipt.
  • Apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.
  • Give the college a decision no later than the May 1 national response date.

Apply Early

A student should apply early to an ED or EA plan if the student:

  • Has researched colleges extensively.
  • Is absolutely sure that the college is the first choice.
  • Has found a college that is a strong match academically, socially and geographically.
  • Meets or exceeds the admission profile for the college for SAT scores, GPA, and class rank.
  • Has an academic record that has been consistently solid over time.

The Benefits of Applying Early

For a student who has a definite first-choice college, applying early has many benefits:

  • Reduces stress by cutting the time spent waiting for a decision.
  • Saves the time and expense of submitting multiple applications.
  • Gain more time, once accepted, to look for housing and otherwise prepare for college.
  • Reassess options and apply elsewhere if not accepted.

The Drawbacks of Applying Early

  • Pressure to decide: Committing to one college puts pressure on students to make serious decisions before they’ve explored all their options.
  • Reduced financial aid opportunities: Students who apply under ED plans receive offers of admission and financial aid simultaneously and will not be able to compare financial aid offers from other colleges. For students who absolutely need financial aid, applying early may be a risky option.
  • Time crunch for other applications: Most colleges do not notify ED and EA applicants of admission until December 15. Because of the usual deadlines for applications, this means that if a student is rejected by the ED college, there are only two weeks left to send in other applications. Encourage those of your students who are applying early to prepare other applications as they wait to receive admission decisions from their first-choice college.
  • Senioritis: Applicants who learn early that they have been accepted into a college may feel that since their goal has been accomplished, they have no reason to work hard for the rest of the year. Early-applying students should know that colleges may rescind offers of admission should their senior-year grades drop.

Applying Early and the Chance of Acceptance

Many students believe applying early means competing with fewer applicants and increasing their chances for acceptance. This is not always true. Colleges vary in the proportion of the class admitted early and in the percentage of early applicants they admit.

Higher admission rates for ED applicants may correlate to stronger profiles among candidates choosing ED. Students should ask the admission office whether their institution’s admission standards differ between ED and regular applicants, and then assess whether applying early makes sense given their own profile.

The Ethics of Applying Early Decision

The Common Application and some colleges’ application forms require the student applying under early decision, as well as the parent and counselor, to sign an ED agreement form spelling out the plan’s conditions.

Make it clear in your school handbook and at college planning events that your policy for early-decision applications is to send the student’s final transcript to one college only: anything else is unethical.

5 Ways To Help Teens Develop A Strong Work Ethic

5 Ways To Help Teens Develop A Strong Work Ethic

When you think of the most successful person that you know, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is their strong work ethic.

Unfortunately, when it comes to today’s teens, that is one of the last things that usually comes to mind.

“Teens are lazy.” “Teens are entitled.” “Teens don’t know how to work for things anymore.”

Sound familiar?

But as parents, we don’t want these stereotypes to be true of our teens.

We want our kids to be productive members of society. We want them be strong employees that contribute to the bottom line. We want them to develop healthy habits and motivation so they can accomplish great things. We want them to be happy.

So, what do we do?

We must give our children the tools they need to become successful individuals, but it can be hard to help teens develop a strong work ethic in this challenging world full of distractions, such as social media, videos, peers, and world chaos.

Trying to help teens develop a strong work ethic isn’t an easy thing to teach.

Here are a few ways that you can help encourage a strong work ethic in your teens, and set them up for a bright future.

Model a Strong Work Ethic

Leading by example may sound a little simplistic, but it truly is one of the best ways to encourage a strong work ethic in teens. Make sure that they understand that everything you have and everything that you provide for them is a product of the work that you do.

Talk with them about how you set goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Explain your process of prioritizing work and fun, and how sometimes you have to make tough choices.  As they see your behaviors, such as hard work, self-discipline, and dedication, they’ll be more likely to emulate those traits.

Make Personal Responsibility a Priority

As parents, our initial instinct is to protect our children from failure and disappointment, but this means our teens are not developing grit and resilience either. Teenagers often struggle with taking initiative, and procrastination can easily become second nature to an adolescent. Keeping them motivated to take personal responsibility for their chores, school work, and activities can be a struggle. Lay down the ground rules that these things are their own to manage and you will not make it your business to ensure these things are done.

There is a great quote that says, “When you make a choice, you also choose the consequence.” It’s important you allow your tweens and teens to experience the consequences of missed assignments, being sidelined for forgetting sports equipment, or not receiving their allowance for incomplete chores. We never want to see our kids fail, but there may be times that we cannot swoop in and save them, so the best gift we can give is teach them how to stand on their own two feet.

As their sense of personal responsibility to take care of things that matter to them grows, so will their work ethic.

Teach Them How to Balance Commitments

Many teens balk at the idea of dedicating themselves to a task for fear it will prevent them from having fun in their life. Help them to coordinate their schedules and teach them how to prioritize so that there is room for the things they must accomplish along with things that they enjoy.

Many college students struggle with time management during their freshman year as they never had to manage their schedules. Some find it challenging to meet deadlines, produce quality work, and take care of their personal needs. Many professors and employers often cite that this young generation of employees has a poor work ethic, is laden with excuses, and lacks self-motivation. While some of this is the result of the pandemic, as parents, we must shoulder some of the blame.

Parents can help their children develop a good work ethic by demonstrating work-life balance whenever possible. Share your experiences of great teamwork in your workplace or any situation when possible, and discuss what happens when coworkers let you down so your teens can understand that actions have consequences for all involved.

Try to show your teen that there is a time for work and a time for play. The always-on culture of the last decade has not been a good example to our teens and tweens, and many have watched the adults in their life burnout during these challenging times.

On the flip side, we have also seen many quit their jobs without even giving proper notice. Granted, sometimes it is because the employer did not value the employees, but encourage your teen to do what’s right within certain boundaries. This also includes talking to your teenagers about what makes a good workplace culture, including how they handle the schedule, vacations, employee morale, promotions, etc. Talk to them about what makes a good boss and leader so they can aspire to be one someday.

Work ethic also includes integrity, so we need to show our kids how to find balance and professionalism. Job satisfaction often comes when you find a position that allows you to grow in your job without sacrificing your personal life.

Teach Them Good Workplace Etiquette: It doesn’t matter what the job is, there are certain aspects of a strong work ethic that translate into any job whether it’s working as a ditch digger or in the top floor of a law firm. Here are some skills to work on with your teenagers that demonstrate a strong work ethic and make a good employee:

Practice punctuality: It’s great to be on time, particularly for shift work, but if you can’t make it happen, always make sure you call ahead and let your manager know. Chronic tardiness is often a reason why young people get fired.

Complete tasks before you leave: At my daughter’s first retail job, her manager taught her the value of ensuring the “floor” is ready to go for the next day’s shift even if they need to stay a few minutes extra. Finishing the job–and a willingness to go the extra mile–is an important part of your work ethic.

Be respectful to all team members: Employers like people who can get along and don’t add negativity to their workplace. Teach your kids to keep their personal and work life separate.

Have pride in their work: It doesn’t matter what the task, if an employee is doing sloppy work, it looks bad for the employer. Talk to your teen about having a high standard for their work, and that managers often notice it.

Be amenable to constructive feedback: sometimes teens are known to be overly sensitive. Talk to your teens about keeping a positive mindset and being receptive to others’ ways of doing things.

Honesty: You may think this goes without saying, but talk to your teens about the value of honesty in the workplace. Many retailers have to search bags before their employees leave because theft has gone up, and what may not seem like a big deal to your teen could be a firable offense.

Allow Them to Experience the Results of Hard Work

Be generous with praise and acknowledge effort in everything your teen does, whether it is in school, at a job, or in an extracurricular activity. When appropriate, offer rewards for a job well done or bonuses when they go above and beyond.

Developing strong work habits at the onset of your teen’s employment career can make the difference as they move into adulthood. Help them to recognize the feelings of achievement that go along with completing a tough project or reaching a goal that they have set for themselves. Though hard work isn’t always acknowledged in the “real world”, learning to appreciate the internal results of their accomplishments will be incredibly beneficial in the long run.

4 Steps to Quality Extracurricular Participation

4 Steps to Quality Extracurricular Participation

Extracted from article published by Niche

Are you looking to choose, diversify, or deepen your extracurricular activities? Here are the 4 mantras:

1. Be true to yourself.
Your extracurricular activities should show colleges where your passions lie, so pursue enjoyable activities that genuinely interest you.

If you absolutely love science, participate in activities like the Science Olympiad, Physics Club, and/or Robotics Team. You can also attend science-related summer camps, develop your own research and experiments, and job shadow someone in a science career that interests you.

If reading and writing are your cup of tea, work on your school’s literary magazine, join the Creative Writing Club, write your own novel or short story collection, and start a book club.

Not sure what you’re interested in? Experiment with a few different types of activities, then narrow it down to your top 3-4. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one category or area of interest, but don’t spread yourself too thin.

Remember that you’re not trying to find the most impressive activities or check every box. What do you love? What “makes you tick?” Once you’ve figured that out, pursue it.

2. Commit!

We mentioned above that it’s fine to experiment with several different activities at first. But at some point, you need to narrow your focus to 3-5 activities that you especially enjoy.

Once you’ve narrowed your focus, commit. Colleges like to see dedication and commitment to a few key activities over an extended period of time. It’s a definite plus if you can devote yourself to the same activities for most of your college career.

3. Take on leadership roles or otherwise add value.

Once you’ve committed to a few activities that interest you, try to take on leadership roles or otherwise add value in these areas.

Colleges don’t only want you to participate when you come to campus; they want you to contribute. Your extracurricular activities should demonstrate that you’ll use your interests and talents to make a difference on campus. The best way to show you’ll make a difference in the future is to make a difference right now.

Become a club officer, plan a special event, run a committee, or generate a new idea. Or if a club doesn’t exist that you’d love to join, start it yourself! Whatever you do, make sure that you contribute in a meaningful way. Keep track of your contributions so you can mention them when you apply to colleges.

You might want to have an ongoing document that lists what activities you participated in, leadership roles you had, contributions you made, problems you solved or helped solve, etc. This will help you develop your activity summary when you apply to colleges, and it may even give you some great ideas for your college application essay(s).

4. Deepen and develop your interests over time.

Colleges also like to see growth over time. Each year, your interests and involvement should deepen or develop.

This can include strengthening your leadership role in an organization or becoming more involved (leading a committee, planning more events, recruiting others to join).

It may also include spending time on your own to further explore your interests or sharpen your skills. Take related college or online courses, job shadow or find internships, go to relevant summer camps, or check out books on the subject from your local library.

Colleges like curious, passionate students who take initiative. Make use of the resources and opportunities available to you and explore your interests on your own time. By doing so, you’ll indicate that you’re just the sort of student colleges want on their campuses.