Best Small Space Workout Equipment For Dorms: 10 Easy Ideas

Best Small Space Workout Equipment For Dorms: 10 Easy Ideas

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College is a busy time of life. So much time spent studying, participating and socializing. Our students need to remember to fit some sort of exercise into their lives to stay healthy. The problem with dorm rooms and many college apartments is the lack of space. Here are ideas for the best small space workout equipment your student could use.

First, it goes without saying that exercise is so important! It can have a “positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD”, plus it can help a person to “feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives.” More great info from this great article.

We know that our kids will be stressed from academics, social situations, and various other activities in their college and/or work lives. One of the first things I always ask my sons is, “Have you exercised lately?” This could mean so many things! Going to the gym. Taking a walk. Going for a swim… 

For me, exercise helps me to clear my mind, and this is a FREE way to exercise! Here are 10 benefits to walking that you might not know about – I totally agree with the creative thinking benefit.

I did some research, and found out that there are many options for exercise equipment for a small space that fit my criteria -low cost, and very little space. A lot of these options are also great for those of us as parents beginning to think about down-sizing!

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Best small space exercise equipment

Best small space workout equipment

Stretching and strength

Smaller weights -These are great because different components can be added or removed to adjust the weight -the lowest weight is 2.3 lbs. and the highest weight is 4.5 lbs. per dumbbell.

Yoga mat -This mat is great for ease of storage, and it comes in a variety of colors to match any dorm room. Blocks and a strap would be great additions!

Kettlebell -This one is great because it is also adjustable, and takes up hardly any room!

Pilates ball -I thought this one would be good because it comes with a handy exercise chart! This is only a 9″ ball, so it would fit under most beds.

Pilates bar kit -There are so many to choose from. I liked the options and price for the picture below.

Balance ball -My son who has his personal training certification, swears by this thing. There are so many exercises that will work on this. It weighs only 12 pounds, and when inflated, stands only 10″ high, so again, this will fit under a bed or desk.

Resistance bands set -This is different than the Pilates band set. I like the one below because It includes a carrying case, jump rope and lots of other options.

Cardio

Under-desk elliptical -I liked that this mentioned low noise. In a dorm room or small apartment situation, that could really be a factor. This can also be used to exercise arms.

Foldable exercise bike -This is a little bit more expensive than the other tools that I have mentioned. However, it can be folded up, and stored in a corner, and is great for cardio. With Zooms, and other online options for class, a student could get a workout in, AND attend class.

Mini-tramp -This was my favorite go-to in college, and still today! I love my mini-tramp: it’s fun, it can be hidden under a bed or behind a door, and it is a great workout!

Ways to exercise in a small space

Exercise cards -There are also exercise dice -who knew? There is also a way to use a regular deck of cards to create a great workout!

Internet videos and apps -These are great for on-the-go schedules! And, here is a BMI calculator to use as well. The image below is one of the newer apps. Most are free to start, which is a great way to check out whether you like it or not. Then you can decide if it is worth it to spend money each month.

Other helpful devices

Fitbit -This is another bigger expense. But, the price range is pretty large, and I found some off-brands for as little as $40. This will help track all areas of fitness, which is helpful when there are so many other things to keep track of in life!

Jug for hydration -The best are the kind with lines for keeping track of the amount to drink, and with some sort of handle for easy transport. The one below has great messages as the day progresses.

Vapor Fresh -to deodorize equipment, shoes, laundry. It comes in powder, spray and wipes. The picture below is a 3-pack for all uses.

Related posts

What will my freshman need for the dorm?

Halloween decs for a tiny dorm room

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

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best workout equipment for small spaces

College and Career Planning: 3 Secrets to Success

College and Career Planning: 3 Secrets to Success

College and career planning starts young. Younger than you think! Start conversations in middle school. Continue them throughout high school, and really start to focus in on what your teen wants to do. Give advice. Find out more information. Work together to make a plan!

Now is the perfect time to have these conversations:)

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This post is written by a new friend that I have met in the blogging world, Loren Kelly. Turns out she is a Missouri girl, so I like her already! She is an expert on this topic. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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College and career planning|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

College and Career Planning

When it comes to college and career planning, there are a few secrets to success that I wish I could share with every parent and high school student across America. This information will save you time, money, and frustration. What do you need to know about college and career planning? Here are my top three tips.

Choose the career first and the college last

This first tip is vital. It seems logical to choose a college first, then declare a major, and think about the career portion closer to graduation. This is the model that has been followed for several decades in the United States. This approach, however, has led to a large percentage of college graduates experiencing feelings of dissatisfaction when it comes to long-term career fulfillment. Also, many students enter college with an undeclared major and struggle to find an academic program that engages them.

The solution to these issues is to approach the college and career planning process in reverse. To prevent time and money from being wasted, a student should determine a career path before choosing a college or training program. As the image below illustrates, begin with the end goal in mind. When a student comes to me for help with college and career planning, we begin by exploring career fields of interest.

Once we have determined the best-fit career for the student through comprehensive career exploration, then we proceed with identifying the best training and education to prepare for that career. Finally, we finish the process by finding schools and colleges that offer that training and make the decision based on reputation, graduation and employment rates, and cost.

Consider ALL careers and education options available

The second college and career planning secret to success is to consider all career options and all education options. In the early 90s, the myth began to spread that to be successful, one needed to go to college. We slowly started to see vocational and trade programs disappear from America’s schools, and college preparation became the focus.

I want to encourage parents and students across the nation to consider all options. There are very lucrative trade careers that require short-term training and no college degree.

Real life example

Let me tell you a story about my brother. My brother, Jedd, was uncertain about his plan for the future at high school graduation. He enjoyed working with his hands; however, our parents and his teachers encouraged him to go to college. They assured him he would figure it out while at university because he was an intelligent kid with good grades.

Fast forward two years, and he dropped out with no degree, thousands of dollars of student loans, and a lot of frustration. Had he engaged in career planning first, he probably would have determined that a trade was the best fit for him. He is now a maintenance mechanic at a very reputable corporation. He earns a very respectable wage with a one-year vocational certificate!

As you approach college and career planning, consider all career options and then be sure to look at vocational schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities. The integrity of the academic program, completion and employment rates, and costs are significant factors to consider when choosing your education and training.

Begin gaining career-relevant experience early

The final tip is to gain experience in your future career field as early and as often as possible while pursuing your education and training! Gone are the days of a college degree ensuring gainful employment following graduation. To stand out in a pool of applicants, students must gain career-relevant experience while in school. college and career planning|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Most commonly, career-relevant experiences come in the form of internships for degree-seeking students or apprenticeships for trade students. In addition to the benefit of having experience on your resume, internships and apprenticeships also give students the opportunity to try a career.

First-hand experience in a career field can save a student a lot of time and money as they may determine early that a career may not be as fulfilling as he/she originally thought. If an internship or apprenticeship isn’t feasible, volunteer work is just as valuable! As you engage in the college and career planning process, please reach out if you have questions!

More info about Loren

As a College Instructor and Career Coach, empowering young people to pursue the future with confidence and clarity is my passion! If you are interested in more information and ideas to assist your child with college and career planning, visit my website. I share weekly articles and free guides to help parents and students plan for the future!

college and career planning|lorenkellycoaching.com/career-coaching/college-and-career-planning/

Here is my review of Loren and her programs!  Click the link to watch!

Related blog posts:

Middle School: Advice for Success,

College Bound: Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School,

The Truth About to Prevent Student Loan Debt,

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How To Pack An Emergency Road Trip Kit

How To Pack An Emergency Road Trip Kit

Is your teen ready to come home at a minute’s notice?

Guess what? We are living in the day of weird circumstances, and we need to be prepared. Our teens need to be prepared. Is your teen going back to college? What if campus suddenly closes down again? What if there is a family emergency that your teen needs to leave for on a minute’s notice? Here are some ideas for an emergency road trip kit for your teen.

Colleges are preparing for the return of students, for whatever that may look like. Is your teen preparing to head back to college? Is your teen headed for the first time?

We need to help our teens to prepare for any type of circumstance so that in the moment of an emergency, they won’t need to think about it. Here are tips for packing an emergency road trip kit. These tips are good for us to remember as well!

Do you have a new driver? Here is a post for that.

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A bag to pack in

This set of 4 mesh bags. These will need to be filled with all of your teens favorite personal items. When purchasing things for this next school year, whether it will be a dorm room or apartment, go ahead and purchase some travel size items for this bag. Don’t forget a brush, and toothbrush with toothpaste. And, make sure your girls don’t forget some personal hygiene items.

Packing cubes will provide a little bit more room. Maybe use these for a quick change of clothes, dividing by category.

If you would rather purchase a kit that is already prepared, here are some really great ones!

General supplies

Car phone charger -Be sure to remind your teen to always keep their phone charged.

Flashlight, and they need to be sure to regularly change out the batteries!

First aid kit to leave in the car!

Kitty littler because if your teen gets stuck then this can be poured down for traction. Road salt or sand will work as well.

Duct tape is always a great thing to have around. You never know when it might come in handy.

Here is a handy road distress kit to throw into the trunk -just in case!

Medications and/or medical supplies

Please remind your student to keep their meds locked up in some sort of a safe. We found out the hard way that this type of theft is very common on college campuses. Here are other size safes for this type of situation. Remember to remind your teen to have a few over-the-counter drug items in their car as well, such as Advil for a headache that will come with stress.

Here is a pack that is already prepared for you! All the details already thought out for you!

Weekly medicine organizer which can be used all the time anyway.

Here is a pouch for all kinds of medicine.

Cleanliness items

Wet wipes are really hard to come by, but a travel size would be great.

Antibacterial hand wipes are a must. If you cannot find any, here is a recipe for making your own.

Liquid hand soap can be put into a smaller bottle for travel. This is great if your teen needs to stop and remembers to take it in in case there is nothing in soap dispenser!

 

Spray disinfectant for quick cleaning after visiting a gas station or wherever.

Covid supplies

Face masks -Sign of the times we live in, but having a pack of these in the car is something we all ought to be doing now, especially if traveling.

Disposable gloves -Another item to have in your car for pumping gas, exchanging money or even going in to use a restroom on a road trip.

 

Anti Touch, No-Touch Door Opener -This thing is a stylus, hands-free button-pusher, cool little gadget! We should all be carrying this in our wallets. This is one of the most multifunctional tools that I have seen.

Food for the road

Have a few snacks on hand, just in case. Even just one or two in one of the above bags is a great head start for a quick trip.

Trail or nut mixes are great for travel.

Frooze balls, these are yummy.

Money or gift cards

This is super important. They should put some cash in small bills, 20s or less in their safe to grab on the run. Also, if they have a credit card, they need to be sure to have that with their driver’s license. Having a few gift cards would be great if they need to stop for food or gas anywhere!

The Amazon Rewards card is great because you win when they spend. Having a credit card will be peace of mind for you if they do end up on the road. Our oldest got his first credit card his junior year of college. I think that this depends on the teen and their responsibility level.

Fast food gift cards are a great idea!

Winter emergency road trip kit

Remind your teens that even if they don’t wear a coat, they should have one in the car for a road trip in case something happens. Same with boots and possibly a heavy sweater, especially if they are going to be traveling through cold weather states.

In cold weather, they should keep at least half a tank of gas at all times. Before a longer trip, your teen should have their car serviced or at least have a trip check. Remind them a couple of weeks before a trip to make an appointment to get their car taken care of by a mechanic.

Jumper cables -These are actually good at any time, but for sure in the cold weather.

Ice scraper -Just put this under the seat until cold weather hits. I like this one a lot!

Reflective triangles -Again, these are good to have at any time, but especially if something happens on the road.

Emergency blanket or a heavy travel blanket for the road to keep warm, just in case.

Snow shovel -I like this one, it’s a 3-in-1. it’s collapsible and has a couple of attachments.

Some things to think about at any time

Help your teen to learn to know where the nearest exit is no matter where they are. Movie theater, mall, restaurant etc. If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that you can take nothing for granted. Our kids and teens need to be able to think on their feet. When we notice out loud things like seeing where exit signs are, keeping track of directions on the way to a new place or even reminding them that they really shouldn’t open a door to strangers-even now that they are older, we are helping our teens to be more prepared for emergency situations.

I am not saying that we need to become doomsday preppers, but helping our teens to be ready for anything will reduce their stress in the event of an emergency.

Be sure that your teen knows to have their car regularly maintained. Another thing that we have told our teens is to always have at least half a tank of gas these days, just to be sure they can get out of town at the very least.

Through readiness and discipline, we are the masters of our fate.” -Bill Paxton

This was a different type of post for me. As I was researching this idea, it made me feel a little unsettled. But, I wanted you to think about what your teen may need in certain circumstances. This is not something that we might have thought about even 6 months ago. But, being prepared is never a bad thing. This preparation will take some of the extra stress away if something were to happen when your student is away at school.

I hope that this emergency road trip kit is not necessary, but I hope that your teen takes one as they head back to school!

Related posts:

What Your Freshman Will Definitely Need in Their Dorm Room,

Is Your Teen Headed Back to College? Tips for Success,

15 Ways Parents Can Help a Stressed Out Teen

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

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What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm: The 4-1-1 for Success!

What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm: The 4-1-1 for Success!

What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm?

Hey, it’s approaching soon–moving your kiddo into their freshman dorm… That bittersweet day when your baby-not-baby heads off to college. How can this be? Just yesterday he was crawling around in his diaper! Just yesterday she was playing with her baby doll and twirling around the house in her little tutu! Now you are wondering, “What will my freshman need in the dorm?”

You blinked, and now they are practically grown! Seriously, we have to think about moving them out of our houses and into a dorm room at college. It’s not so bad if you are organized to begin with. I am here to help!

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What will my freshman need in the dorm?

 What will I need to move into the dorm?

First, remember that space is limited, so making careful choices is important. Second, if you have a girl, then she will probably want to decorate and make her room super cute. If you have a boy, then for the most part, he could probably care less. My 2 boys are of the care less sort.

The items on this list are not decorative, but super useful for any college student. They are in no particular order of importance, but all will be necessary!

Some suggestions…

One thing that I suggest you that you do, is to purchase a couple of things a month over the spring and summer before so that it’s not one big expensive month right before! Another option would be to divide the list of needs with the other roommate.

When I was a senior, my mom gave me one or two things a month for the whole year before college, so that by the time I went away, I had everything that I needed:)

Please check out my comprehensive lists on Amazon. I created lists for Dorm Room Essentials and College School Supplies,  These are pages I created on Amazon’s website where you can actually go shop right from the list! Check them out!

Grab everything all at once and have it all delivered right to your door! You are welcome😀

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Have you thought about the legal implications for your teen turning 18?

HIPAA, FERPA, Selective Service… Check out my post which addresses all of those topics and what you should think about for your teen at their 18th birthday. There are so many things that I hadn’t even thought about, so, please inform yourself.

Items for move-in day

Before I start the list, you need to think about moving all the stuff in! Here are a couple of things that I would totally recommend having on hand. First, Ikea Frakta bags -these are the bomb, and order early because these go fast! A door stopper is great for all the in and outs.

The other item I would recommend having is a collapsible wagon. This can be stored under your student’s bed and then used for laundry, groceries or hauling things back out to their car for holidays etc.

Also, will you teen be driving a lot? They should have a safety container in their car for travel. This is a great place to put those legal forms that you work on above. If your teen will be on the road for long distance travel at all, I have some tips on an emergency kit for their car. Check it out here.

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What will my college freshman need in the dorm?

What will my freshman need in the dorm? 

Before you get anything, check with the college and the roommate so that you have the room dimensions, allowed items, and know what each roomie is going to bring. This will save you time and money. Remember to buy small. They can always replace when they run out of something. Horizontal space is limited, so be creative!

Before you spend the money on a microwave and/or refrigerator, check with the school because they may have a rental program with the exact model that they allow. Otherwise, think small, and stack the microwave on top of the fridge!

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Multi-plug outlet/chargerthis has outlets, USB ports, and a timer, and even has a surge protector. This is a MUST! Be sure to have a long phone cord for charging because you never know where the closest outlet will be!

Surge protector -many schools won’t allow extension cords, so grab one of these and, be sure to get one with lots of outlets.

Whiteboardkeep track of schedule, lists, write note to roommate etc. Here are some great accessories! Markers, graphic chart tape in various colors,  and whiteboard crayons for fun! 

Under the bed storage -this is great for out-of-season clothing, and other rarely used items. A suitcase will work for this as well. One good thing to have is an overnight bag or gym bag in case your student goes away for a weekend with friends.

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Keurig -This is great not just for coffee. Your student can heat up water for ramen, mac ‘n’ cheese, etc. A Brita pitcher is nice, too, depending on the taste and quality of the water. Be sure to get the smallest that you can for each since their space is so limited!

Area rugThis is for comfort, as well as style. It can be a basic monotone rug or multi-colored or patterned one. Stepping onto a rug is so much nicer than a plain, tiled floor, especially in the middle of the night! Don’t forget a rug gripper pad to keep it in place, and a small vacuum to keep it clean.

Mattress topper -Must have because the mattresses in dorm rooms are awful! Be sure that you find out the size of the mattress, sometimes they are twin XL, and sometimes not.

Mattress protector, 2 sets of sheets, and a cozy comforter are a must as well. My boys didn’t care what any of it looked like, but if you have a girl or a guy who cares, then you will get to have so much fun with this part!

Command hooks-many different sizes for hanging everything! Small, medium and large are all available. These can be used for a million reasons around a dorm room. And, these ceiling hooks are awesome for hanging flags or other lightweight items.

Shower caddySo handy for the dorm shower, even if you have a suite setup, it keeps all your “stuff” together! Don’t forget to pick up a pair of shower shoes while you’re at it!

Prop-up bed wedge -I like the one in this picture because it has a removable cover, and it’s oversized. It’s a bit more expensive, but no telling what might spill on this in a dorm room! Here is a super fuzzy wedge! Grab a bedside shelf or organizer– so great in the limited space of a tiny room.

 

Desktop fan -A dorm room can be really stuffy!

Prime Student 6-month TrialThis is the best! Videos, books for college and your kindle app, and lots more. *(Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping (with no minimum order size) * Exclusive deals and promotions for college students!)

Laptop computerEvery school is different, so you need to have your student check to see which computer is recommended. My oldest son got this for graduation, and our middle son got this one. They each had different wants and needs, and they have both been happy with their choices.

Laundry basketDon’t forget to grab detergent, stain stick, and dryer sheets while you’re at it. Also, check out this tiny air purifier that just plugs into an outlet and is the size of your fist. (It does not require a filter, and would be great in a dorm room for freshness. It will eliminate odors, bacteria, and allergens.)

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Printer -Most kids assume that since there is free printing in many places on campus, they won’t need a printer of their own. What they don’t think about is that many times that means a walk to the bookstore or the learning lab or wherever the school printer happens to be.

A few cleaning supplies would be handy as well. Antibacterial wipes, room deodorizer, small trash bags, multi-purpose cleaner, and paper towels are all a good call.

Dorm safe -This is almost a must. My son was on meds that his friends always wanted. It was so much easier on him to be able to lock it up and not worry about it. They can also lock up their money, gift cards and jewelry.

First aid/health kit -This will come in so handy, and it can be refilled and personalized with specific meds and extra band-aids etc.

Toolkit -My son took a toolkit that my husband put together for him. He told me that almost every day someone needed something out of his kit! He also had a box of extras like scissors, flashlight, batteries, zip ties, liquid nails, thumb tacks, etc.

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

And, just for fun, these LED strip lights are so cool! My friend has them around the white boards in her classroom, and I thought they would be so much fun around the frame of the beds in a dorm room. They can be set to one color or set to change.

There you go. All of the most useful items already in a list for you! Be sure to check out my more comprehensive lists for Dorm Room Essentials and College School Supplies.

For all you moms out there!

Have you heard about the Flippy? My bestie in Denver got one of these from her daughters because it drove them crazy when she would build towers out of side tables etc to put her devices on to Zoom her daughter who lives overseas! She loves it! So get one for when you and your teen talk after they have left home! You can prop it up in any position for whatever makes you the most comfortable!

Make the most out of your last months as you answer the question, “What will my freshman need in college?”

Fall semester is quickly approaching. Enjoy your last month of summer! Get some hugs in if your kid will let you, and make family time happen! I am thinking of you because we have been there. I’ve gone through it twice now. so I know how quickly this all goes.

I hope that I was able to answer your question, “What will my freshman need in the dorm?” I am definitely sending my love to you all in this really bittersweet time! 

What will my freshman need in the dorm and how are they this old?

Other helpful ideas as you help your teen prepare for college

Another place with good gift ideas for teens, some of which would be good for dorm rooms, is this post. Check out my Pinterest board- Dorm Room Ideas with all sorts of ideas or College Hacks for even more ideas! And, here is a list of 5 things that you shouldn’t forget to bring to the dorm with you.

One thing that one of my boys loved was this digital picture frame. He wasn’t one to put up pictures, and he wasn’t far from us, but he said he would turn this on occasionally if he hadn’t seen us in awhile.

Good luck and have fun! Don’t forget about organizing and preparing the best backpack with all the essentials needed to be out of the dorm or apartment all day.

Do you have a younger teen in high school or middle school? Grab my high school parenting toolkit!

Are you wondering what essential tech items your teen will need for college? Here’s your answer!

Want tips for putting together a care package for your college kid?  Or grab a couple of tiny decorations for the dorm for Halloween?

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

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What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Advice for Middle School Success

Advice for Middle School Success

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Start Early with these tips for Middle School Success!

Middle school is a time of transition and growing. Your child leaves elementary school, and has three years to be ready for high school! How is this possible? Here are some hard-won lessons learned from getting three kids through these years for middle school success.

Both you and your teen have lots to learn. It is a challenging time, in fact, this might be the most challenging age since they were toddlers! These years can be difficult, but you can help your child start some forward thinking with some of these strategies, and you guys can survive.

Quick update: I am now teaching middle school. I can tell you that these kids are savvy! They already have ideas about what they want and don’t want. Take advantage of this time! It goes so quickly…

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Middle School: 9 Tips for Success|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Start the thinking process!

Begin talking about things that your child likes to do or that they are interested in or are good at. Do a Google search for schools with different majors that you think of together. Start conversations with your child when you are with other adults and talk with them about their jobs.

Check out my book. Some, if not all, of these conversations really are better if started before high school! But, have them whenever you can if your teen is older.

What types of things do these adults like, and/or dislike, about their jobs. What are the expectations at their workplaces? Do they have really long hours, or maybe just a four day week? How much did they make starting out? How much school was required?

Adults usually love it when a kid is willing to talk and have an actual conversation with them, so encourage them to ask away. Plus, it’s an added bonus to that adult that your child is asking questions and interested in them.

Middle school success is better when you embrace learning.

Think about future job possibilities.

Help your child to start looking around at different jobs that people have wherever you all are. Even when watching a show, try to notice how many jobs there are on that show. Watch the news for different stories about people’s lives and what they do during the day.

These conversations can be very interesting to say the least, it’s amazing what they know and think that they know. Remember, though, that it’s a conversation, not time to lecture!

My video goes into more detail about this here. And be sure to read on below the video for the rest of the story!

Try new things for middle school success.

Middle school is the perfect time to try some new things.

Try a club if it sounds interesting. Try to stick with it for the year. Sometimes these start out a little boring because no one knows each other yet. Give it a chance. If it is just not a good fit, then try something else.

Run for an office in a club or be in charge of a particular event. This is good practice for more leadership in high school.

Try out for a sport.  This is the time to do some of these things to get a taste to see if it is something that might be a good fit. Most kids at this age make the team. It’s a good time to learn about a sport, especially if your child hasn’t played it before. There are lots of beginners at this age as well as other kids who have played for years. You will see it all in middle school!

Try out an instrument for all of these same reasons.

Again, if your student doesn’t just love something, then they have tried and now they know! The great thing about middle school is that it’s practice for being in high school without the pressure of grades counting and everything being super competitive.

Thankfully, middle school success doesn't depend on playing in band!

Take the aptitude tests seriously.

As the future gets closer, tell your student not to just blow these tests off. These tests are really a tool to help decipher personality traits, likes and dislikes, and many other factors which might help steer your child in a direction they have never even considered. Many give really good ideas if honest and thoughtful answers are provided.

Here is a website that gives great links to some of these tests, and most are free! You can sign up for Loren’s services, but you do not have to!

Right now jobs with good employment rates are engineering, administration, many sciences, and graphic design. Many jobs are not even listed yet–BECAUSE they have not been invented yet! 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 do not even exist today!

Middle school success does not depend on these scores, however the information that can be gained from these results if your teen takes it seriously might be really helpful!

Have conversations.

If I could go back and do one thing differently, it would to be to have more conversations about all of this. We are trying this a lot more with our youngest son. No decision needs to be made at this point. But, just having these sort of conversations will really help with everyone’s mindset as high school is looming just ahead.

One big mistake is to wait until junior year to start all these conversations and by then your kids are so super busy and there is a lot going on in general. Give yourselves the gift of time. Here’s the link to a post with 5 tips to improve communication with your teen.

Middle school success takes conversations.

This is also a good time to start keeping track of all activities because as your child moves forward, especially by high school, a good record of all this needs to be kept from the beginning of freshman year.

Check out my parent toolkit for this and other ways to help your teen through these busy years!

Apply for scholarships.

One thing that I wish I had known with my oldest son, is that this whole process could be started in middle school. Many scholarships are available starting for students when they are 13! These are good ones to try for, because who knows this? No one that I have spoken with about this process has known.

As a parent, you need to set up a specific email just for scholarships, and so should your child–even if you are the only one checking them. Sign up for scholarship websites, and fill out the profiles. (These can be edited down the road as your child learns more about themselves and their likes and dislikes.)

These websites will start to send lots of emails about different scholarships that are available. They will be organized in many ways. Stay up with them and create a list of ones to try for. Many can and should be deleted. Don’t go crazy with this. Maybe try for one a month, more during the summer or over holidays.

Two AMAZING resources are:

How 2 Win Scholarships
Monica Matthews is a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s a mom who worked with her son to earn enough scholarships to attend college for free. Monica has parent, as well as student guides which are extremely useful! I’ve signed up for her newsletters and she’ll let you know when to apply for scholarships. She always has up to date information on her blog. She has a parent guide and student guide as well as a really great online tool for keeping track of scholarship opportunities!

The Scholarship System– Jocelyn Pearson. She has a free webinar you can register for here. She paid for 100% of her college expenses through scholarships. Jocelyn has definitely done her homework and creates a yearly Scholarship Guide. I liked her webinar. Has a lot of information available. 

Practice writing a few essays.

Good topics for essays are:  goals and aspirations, how to help the environment, safe driving habits (such as no texting and driving), and where do you see yourself in 20 years. Just having these few essays in their pocket will be super helpful in the whole process because they can be tweaked and used more than once.

There will be more and more writing in high school, so this is good practice. Also, many colleges require an essay on their application, so these could be used again for that.

Middle school success takes work

Set up a calendar for college related items.

This can be a dedicated calendar for scholarship due dates (pretend that they are actually due earlier than actual date, so they are never late) and also test dates like the ACT and SAT. Eventually, in high school, due dates for applications can also be added. There are many due dates, so a calendar dedicated to just college can be super helpful.

Books to read that will help!

Here are some great books to help you through the middle school years! A few by name are: Middle School Matters, Middle Schooled, Middle School Makeover, and Planet Middle School.

Talk about finances

Are you wondering what you should be teaching your teen about money? Saving? Investing? This knowledge is so important for our kids as they leave for college and/or beyond. I so wish that I had know all of this when I was their age!

I have found this awesome resource. It’s called 5 Things Parents Must Teach Kids About Money. There is also Millionaire by 51. Both of these are from my new friend in the blogging world, John Q. Miller aka. “Daddy401k” He was in our Next Phase Parenting Summit back in January, and had so much great information!

This is a lot!!!

Do not try to do this all at once! Middle school lasts three years, so give yourself grace. Try one thing at a time. Get to know your child as they mature and grow into young adults. The main thing is to keep the lines of communication open with your child so that all of this planning and prep work is done together.

It’s almost too much for any one person.Get on the same page as your spouse, significant other, or ex– or as close as possible because it is your kid’s future that is important right now. There will be times that you don’t work on any of this because you are busy and have a life. When you can, take baby steps into this whole process, the chances of middle school success will increase. It is a really exciting and fun time for all!

Related posts:

College Bound: Get Ready for College with Conversations,

Scholarship Tips and Tricks (You CAN Start in Middle School!)

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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How Do I Apply To College?-12 Steps to Success!

How Do I Apply To College?-12 Steps to Success!

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How do I apply for college? How you can help your teen!

This post covers how to make this process easier for your teen, starting the summer before their senior year. There are many things to keep track of, so get organized! Check out this post which will help your and your teen stay organized throughout high school.So, when your teen asks, “How do I apply to college?” and you haven’t been doing all of these things, it’s not too late to start!

Schools are sending information to prospective students via email and snail mail. It is such fun for your teen to receive all of these! Now, it’s time to begin the process of applying to colleges. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

There is even more great information below the video about applying to college!

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Throw away any unwanted information!

Have your teen throw away any packets from schools that they are not interested in. This will eliminate over half of what they receive. Your student needs to use both the trash can and their email trash. Tell them to stay on top of this because the stack will grow, and their inbox will get to be overwhelming!

This is one job that you can help with. I would go into my sons’ email inboxes (with their permission) and delete any that my they knew were too far away or too expensive or too whatever…

"How do I apply to college?, your teens asks. Trash anything he or she is not interested it

FYII have written a book with all of this information in it plus lots more! Check it out!

And, here is the blog post that goes in conjunction with the book. Many of these discussions that I write about in my book address the very things that your teen will need to know when thinking about “How do I apply to college?”

When Do I Apply for College?

The actual process of college application is in the fall. That is when application due dates typically begin. Each college will be different. Most will accept your teen all the way until school starts the next fall based on the number of applicants. Just beware that financial aid is rewarded first come, first serve. The later that your child applies, the less chance of monies. They will also run the risk of the freshman class filling up, and being waitlisted.

Make a plan

There are a variety of college counseling sites that will help you!

Here are a few choices. This would have been so helpful for us with our older two boys. I will definitely be shopping these options with our third when it’s time for college applications!

College Meister has two programs for application completion help. One and Done, meaning you will complete applications in one week. Or, Eight is Enough, meaning that you will complete your applications in 8 weeks. They provide structure and help as you wade through this process.

Loren Kelly Coaching provides college and career coaching for teens and their parents. She has an amazing program. She also provides resume writing services as well.

College Prep Genius has many helpful products. Here is a College Roadmap for success. And, here is an ebook about Insider Secrets to College Entrance Exams.

Prioritize By Due Dates

Some college application due dates will be immediate, others not for awhile. There may be an early decision date which is binding, others have early decision which is non-binding. Others will have rolling decision dates, which means that your child may have more time.

Have your child look on each college’s website. What is the tuition package? What sorts of scholarships are available? Is there a tiered fee structure? Where does your student fall in all of that?

This might help to eliminate more schools. Talk about a college budget, and learn the truths about student loan debt.

One more thing to look at as far as applications go, is whether or not the college charges an application fee. These can add up, so be sure that if you spend that money, it is really a place that they can see themselves going to for the next four years.

Fill out the FAFSA.

The FAFSA due date is October 1. Do not wait until the first to fill it out! It can take awhile to get it filled in, double-checked and completed! Read about what the FAFSA and what it actually is here. (If you are able to link through the IRS, the time will be greatly shortened.)

Have your child register for the ACT and/or SAT again, if those scores are something which they are wanting to improve upon. They can still apply for colleges, and can just update the score for the college either yourselves or via the test center. They can even take these tests after being accepted, just be sure that they update the college with any improvement to their score! (It might make a difference to the financial aid package that they might receive.)

Ways that ACT and SAT are scored

Some schools ask for the ACT composite score. This is the score of each subtest which is then divided by the number of subtests. The composite score and each test score (English, mathematics, reading, science) ranges from 1 (low) to 36 (high), and is the average of the four test scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. Fractions less than one-half are rounded down; fractions one-half or more are rounded up. 

Another ACT score that a school may ask for is the superscore. This is made up of the best sub-scores regardless of test date. Be sure to send in all test scores for consideration. This creates a new superscore using only the highest numbers. Not all schools will ask for either of these, but look out for these options.

Here is a great resource for SAT test prep.

"How do I apply for college?", your teen asks. Your teen will have more options with higher test scores.

Visit campus if possible!

One of the best ways to know if a school might be a good fit is to visit the campus. The best time to go is during the school year so that your teen can get a true feeling of what life is like during a school day. Here is a guide to planning the visit! Go anytime during their early high school years if possible. (During these days of COVID-there are online versions of college visits–just check out the college’s website.) This is a great list of questions to ask whether you are in person for the visit, or contacting the campus after looking online!

A lot of people wait until junior year, which is fine, but by then most teens are super busy. If you can take them for a visit during their freshman or sophomore year, it gives them time to think about things. Your teen can start to make decisions and eliminate some of their choices earlier.

Visit a variety of colleges if possible!

Visit small and large schools. Visit state schools and private. Visit one that is a little further away than is comfortable to them. Visit the school that is in their hometown because it’s different to actually experience it, than to just think they know about it.

Try to visit one college from each of these categories to give your child a good variety to choose from. They won’t know until they try what might be a good fit! Plus, it’s fun to see all their different choices.

Write Essays  

Essays can be tweaked for each situation as needed. One essay that your teen needs to write is, “What are your plans for the future?” Most schools want to know this information in some form or another. It is a good way for your child to actually think about this, and get their thoughts in order.

Tell them when filling out applications and writing essays that they need to be honest and thoughtful. There will be questions that will cause them to really think, and there will be others that seem ridiculous. Most questions are asked for a certain reason, so your child should think and answer carefully.

Monica Matthews from how2winscholarships has a great guide for writing essays and preparing awesome scholarship packages. Check it out here!

How do I apply to college? More and more the applications will be online!

Get Letters of Recommendation

This is a step that should not be ignored. Go to teachers that have been supportive. Tell your child to really foster good relationships with their teachers throughout high school, so that when they ask a teacher for a recommendation, it’s not a big surprise! This is a big one for answering that question, “How do I apply to college?”

Update Your Resume

A resume is a great way to put all accomplishments together in one place. This can be emailed to colleges as your teen applies to college. My friend, Loren Kelly, has great tips for updating and maintaining resumes! Check her out here.

Search the College Website

Go back to each college’s website. Look carefully through each tab. Search through student life, take a virtual tour of the campus, look at the available clubs and activities.

Google the nearby town to find out information about the size and what is available to do outside of school since it is where they would be living. Again, visit colleges if it is at all possible! Some tips for visiting colleges are here.

I hope that this answered your teen’s question, “How do I apply to college?”

Your child should do everything that that they can to inform themselves about each college as a possibility. This way, when it comes time to really decide where they will end up, they can make an informed decision with all the pertinent facts. This way, when they ask, “How do I apply for college?”, they now know some facts to start this process.

Books that will help in this process

Ultimate Scholarship Book

How To Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

How To Prepare a Standout College Application

Admission Matters

Related posts:

Survival Kit for Parents With Teens in High School,

Talk About a College Budget with Your Teen,

The Truth About Student Loan Debt,

Parents, Are You Asking How You Will Pay for College Next Fall?.

Your Teen is Turning 18! What are the Legal Implications?

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

 

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High School Success

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