Saturday, October 12, 2013

College Talk: Campus Tours

Are you having a hard time deciding where you are going to attend college? You may already be filling out college applications with the hope that this is going to be the right college for you. Some college students set foot on campus the first day the dorms open. But, if you can afford to visit the school—do it! The knowledge you gain from your visit can swing your vote when you are deciding between more than one college. 

I took my kids on several campus tours. I let my high school senior ask all the questions she wanted to. I wanted to see how she would process the information she was receiving. She asked random students we encountered during the tour questions too! Why? Because, they are not being paid to tell us all about the butterfly and rainbow aspects of their school. We asked about study places, food, night life, and job opportunities. 

College Tours... Campus tours are held on a regular basis or during certain hours. Check out the school's website to see when tours can be scheduled. If reservations are possible, make one! You don't want to arrive only to find that the tour is completely booked.

High school students can get letters from the college's admissions office to turn into their high school attendance office to take a tour in the middle of the week. This is a great time to show up because there will be lots of college students around and you will be able to get a real feel for campus life. Most colleges offer tours through their admissions department using students that are currently attending the school.

Open Houses....Universities can hold an open house where all of the departments work
together to give prospective students a real view of campus life including tours of the dorms. Often, student leaders are available to answer any questions you may have. The downfall to this type of tour is that it is very general information. There is often little time for personalized questions and situations. 

  • Take pictures when you are there to remind you of what each campus has to offer. 
  • Document your pros and cons during your visits to keep your information organized.
  • Write down any follow up questions you have about the university so you can get your answers.

Choosing a college is serious business. This is where you are going to spend the next four to five years of your life. You should make sure that you are going to be happy there!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

College Talk: Your Backup Plan

You have dreamed of attending ABC University your whole life! Ever moment of this time, you have planned all aspects of your college experience--including the list of friends you will call when you finally get your letter. Your best case scenario includes an acceptance from this college that will make all the others disappear. 


Yes! Don't limit yourself to one college. You need to apply to multiple colleges to ensure you are going to continue your education after you get your high school diploma. By the time you are wait listed or worse not admitted to your first choice school, it will be too late to apply to more choices. So, cover all your bases and apply to at least three schools including your local state university. If you want to go to UCLA, apply to other schools like CSU Monterrey Bay or San Marcos as well. 

It's great to have positive thoughts. It's better to have options. If you need financial assistance to pay the fees associated with college applications, see your guidance counselor. Even though it may seem like a large investment in the beginning, getting your application to multiple schools will help you make the decision down the road.

If you get into your choice school, financing may keep you from attending. So, having an alternative plan may be more feasible. Keep reading my blog for more college information regarding financial aid, grants, and applying for scholarships.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

College Talk: Scholarship Essays are Your New Favorite

It takes a lot of effort to write a scholarship essay and now that you in the college writing mode, it's a good time to write down a few ideas to win some scholarships.

Think of a time in your life when you faced adversity and how you overcame it. Were you ever bullied? Did you help a friend achieve something great? How do you give back to your community? These are all topics that work well with scholarship essays. Ask an adult to help you organize your thoughts about the situation.

Using the resources you have available will come into play here. When you need to put a spin on an event, there's no better person to ask than a trusted adult, mother, father, teacher, or other mentor. A second set of eyes can judge the quality of your answers and make sure that you are meeting all of the requirements listed in the scholarship application guidelines.

Use powerful words. Claim your victory by using action words. Don't say what you hope to do, say what you have done to see that your planned future is on the right path. For Example:

Option A: I like dogs. I hope to be a veterinarian one day.

Option B: This year, I have focused on giving back to my community by volunteering to walk dogs and care for them at the local shelter. I was able to see that working with animals is something that I have a deep passion for. I followed up with the veterinarian to find that my current skills set is a great match for the rigors of the veterinarian degree program.

Option B will show that you are serious about continuing your education. Make it impossible for them to say no! You may have to apply for 50 or more scholarships to earn a handful or even one. But, you can reuse well written essays as long as the scholarship is offered from different sources and all of the requirements of the scholarship are met!

Good Luck.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

College Talk: The Personal Essay

"Your application, transcripts, and test scores are the bones of your application," Dominique Lightsey informed the parents attending the first annual UCLA open house on September 28, 2013. "Your personal essay is what makes you different for the other applicants." She went on to compare your essay to the fleshy part of your body that makes you who you are.

Imagine that you can use words to express why you would be the perfect candidate for your dream school. Then choose the right words to convey your thoughts. This is the only thing that sets you apart from other students with the same GPA and testing scores.

Here are some tips to help you express yourself.

1. Read the questions. Often when telling a story, you can find yourself going off on a tangent. Doing this takes the reader away from the topic. If you don't answer multiple part questions, this will count against you. Either you want to go to college or your don't. So make sure your screener knows that you are taking the process seriously by answering the questions completely.

2. Be Interesting. When your application is being read, the admission staff is looking for certain answers. When they find them, they may stop reading so keep them interested by telling a compelling story.

3. Stick To You. It is great that your grandfather wanted you to go to ABC University. Say that, but also say that you want it too! Say why you want it from a very personal standpoint. It's not enough to say that it is a good fit for you. Instead, say that attending ABC University will fit in with your life plan of xxxxxx by xxxxxxx.

3. Choose Your Words Wisely. Make sure that you are using the right words correctly. Some words have duplicitous meaning so make sure you offer context to support your word choice. Also, read your completed essay out loud. Listen to the flow of the words. Does it make sense?

4. Deadlines Are Not a Suggestion. Stick with the deadlines that are posted. Often, the application is opened before you can submit it. Take your time to fill it out completely and check the information twice before you submit your answers. Work on it everyday until it is completed. Submit it well ahead of the deadline.

5. Brag About Yourself. It's okay. "Often, applicants don't brag about themselves enough," Lightsey said. Admission counselors want a clear view to why they should offer you admission. Give it to them! Before you get started, write down your high school resume. For each year, you should have a list of all your after school extras like sports, clubs, or organizations you participate in. Organize each year from the most influential to the least in regards to the importance in your life. Include this information when appropriate.

Thank you to Dominique Lightsey, UCLA Admissions office, for answering my questions.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Business Tip #1: Always Deliver on Your Promises

Always deliver on your promises. And, whenever possible, over-deliver. Why? Because everyone else will be doing just enough to not suck, while you are being a rockstar when you follow this tip!
Don't you want people to know that your level of professionalism knows no bounds? Whether you are faced with deadlines that were impossible to meet or changing priorities. No one cares that you had your back against the wall when you don't deliver... they only know that you can't get it done. Otherwise, you will have a following of people that have nothing but bad things to say about you. No one needs that!
Follow through says that you take a project seriously and finish it. That you can be trusted. When I take on a project, I break it into milestones and set deadlines for each part adjusting as necessary as long as my final deliverables are ready on time. This way, I always know that I am on tract for success. It feels much better to give someone a completed project early than an excuse to why it's not quite done.

If is seems that you will need a miracle to get the job done, dig deep and find your super power. Your clients will thank you!

Vicki Bezio, BSIT, MAEd

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Does Everyone Need to Know That?

Did you think you could control your settings on Facebook because someone told you so? They were wrong. You can only control some of your options. Others are always public knowledge.

People believe that Facebook gives you the power to keep information from going public, but that isn't the case! The Exact Facebook Terms can be found at, but here is a summary....

Some stories are always public stories and if you choose to comment on them, your comments will be public. When other people share information about you, THEY choose if your information is shared publicly or not! This is when choosing your friends wisely comes into play. "As a general rule, you should assume that if you do not see a sharing icon, the information will be publicly available." (Facebook Terms)

Your profile photos and cover photos are always public along with your name and username. If you don't want people to see your profile or cover photos forever, you need to delete them from the album. You can change the audience for your profile pictures one at a time following directions found at The Networks you affiliate yourself with are public knowledge.

What can you do about it? Facebook's advice is clear, if you don't want to share this information... Delete Your Account!

As an avid user of Facebook, I try to be mindful of what I share on my page. If  I check-in at a venue, I make sure I am ready to receive guests. On more than one occasion, my friends have pulled up a chair and joined me for a drink. I love it... I am a social person. If that's not you, then don't check-in, post pics, or advertise your activities in the moment... post them after the fact.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1st is Finally Here!

Do you know the significance of October 1st? 

If you are a California resident... you should! This is the day that the the University of California and California State universities open their application process. With their stringent application process, getting started on your application today will give you enough time to get it completed and ready to turn in during their November 1-30 application dates. 

Even if you are not ready to put your personal statement together today, read through the questions. Familiarize yourself with what the application requires. Stop by your registrar's office and get a copy of your unofficial transcripts and start putting that information in the application. This information isn't going to change. Be honest! At some point in the process, your transcripts will be ordered and verified.

You are only months away from graduation. This is not the time to drop the ball! Continue your hustle toward the finish line. Study more, do better. If you are wait-listed, your final grades will make the difference. Shine! 

Check out my blog this month when I share the expert advice of UCLA Admission Staff about putting your personal statement together!

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