Counselors' Corner 02/27/2015
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Counselors' Corner

The Counselors' Corner is a series of
articles that are written by the guidance department to keep our families informed about a variety of things that are important to your daughters. Since we work with all of our students, the entire department is responsible for contributing articles from time to time. We try to keep our articles brief and timely. These articles also appear in the weekly Tiger Tracks sent to parents each Friday.

Counselors' Corner 02/27/2015

Time Management

The one thing every student has in common is that they all are given just 24 hours in a day, and as of yet, no one has discovered a way to create more time.  Some students try to stretch the hours in their day, by “borrowing” hours from their sleep time.  Unfortunately, this practice tends to lead to a student that is not only tired, but usually either less successful academically or less healthy emotionally or physically. Therefore, it is important to learn how to manage the time that is available effectively in order to be the most successful student possible.  The first step your daughter may need in learning how to manage her time is to look at how she uses the time she has available. 

Further tips for time management strategies include:

• Make to do lists categorized by urgency levels which can be color coded for emphasis
(due tomorrow, due next week, due next month)
• Create a dedicated work space that is used solely for study and is properly supplied (pens, pencils, paper, rulers, calculator, dictionary etc.) so time is not wasted searching for needed supplies.
• Use your planner. Writing down your assignments help create a visual structure which can be used to create your daily to do lists.  Plus, written reminders are much more reliable than mental notes.
• Limit distractions. Turn off phones, televisions, computers, internet or anything that is a personal distraction. 
• Use those distractions as rewards for time well spent. For example, set a goal of studying for 45 minutes.  Once that goal is reached, reward yourself with 10-15 minutes of distractions, but remember to set a timer!
• Study the difficult or tedious subjects first.  It is challenging enough to study that difficult course when you are refreshed.  Imagine how much more difficult it is to concentrate and focus when you are tired, or hungry, or irritated.
• Keep on track.  If you find yourself procrastinating, stop and figure out why. Maybe you need a break or maybe you need help.  Ask questions and become reengaged in the work. Write down questions you may want to ask your teacher the next day if you are confused by the work.
• Go to bed (at a reasonable time!) and let your brain process the information you have studied. While you are sleeping (at least 8 hours), your brain is awake and filing away the information you need for tests/quizzes and class.  Without adequate sleep, your memory is not as reliable.
• Help design your own study schedule and time management system.  Use the tools and suggestions available and personalize what works best for you.  You will know if it is working based on if you are getting your work completed, turning it in on time, having some time for relaxation and socialization, and getting enough sleep.  Focus on balance!

Show me the Money: How to Find Merit Aid

Rising college costs are a growing concern for families across the country. As parents and students start to process the financial reality of paying for college, more and more families are asking about scholarships sooner in the process.  What used to be a discussion after the admission decisions were revealed is now often a driver in the college selection process.

While outside scholarships are certainly a possibility, students often experience great frustration when hunting independent scholarship options. Too narrow criteria, too high of academic benchmarks and too much work for too little money are common complaints.  Certainly, if you have the time and interest in pursuing outside scholarships, websites such as are great search engines to start your hunt.

More commonly, our students are finding generous awards from the institutions to which they have been admitted. The more selective the school, the less likely a college is to award merit money to a large percentage of student applicants, if any at all. Not to worry! Many exceptional colleges across the country do award very generous awards. Recently, Money published a list of colleges with generous award philosophies. The list features Trinity University and Southwestern University, two fine Texas institutions.  Click here for the list and accompanying article. 

Additionally, keep in mind that out-of-state public schools do sometimes offer scholarship money as well. Depending on the institution, your student could receive enough aid to lower the out-of-state tuition amount to near in-state tuition. For example, the University of Arkansas and LSU offer out of state applicants very generous awards based on GPA and SAT or ACT scores.  It is important to take note of the scholarship section of any university website to find specific criteria.

As you and your family start to build the college list, please remember that the College Counseling Office is happy to help you investigate colleges where scholarship money is more likely.  After all, financial feasibility is an integral part of the fit formula.
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