Eliminate back pain and stress with AIRBAC™


Backpack Stock Photo

Times have changed since I was last in school. I never used a backpack. I just carried around all my books in my hands. Some of my classmates had backpacks but for the most part we all carried our books in our hands.

These days students are given books that are inches thick and are weighed down – literally – with a ton of homework. It’s next to impossible to carry all your books in your arms. You need a backpack. Sometimes I think kids need multiple backpacks to hold all their books and supplies. It’s just crazy!

I don’t know how my son carries his backpack around on his back. I can’t even pick it up! It’s way too heavy.

We constantly tell him to leave some of his books and supplies in his locker, but the high school is huge and sometimes it’s not possible for him to get to his locker. He has no choice but to lug it all around.

I can’t imagine what all that weight and strain is doing to his back and shoulders.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, backpack injuries in kids aged five to 18 increased 6.5 percent between 2010 and 2011. And although the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends backpacks weigh less than 10-15 percent of a person’s
body weight, realistically, consumers may not be able to control the weight of their necessities.

We have gone through several backpacks over the years but we’ve never found anything that could carry all his stuff and take some “wear and tear” off his back and shoulders.

When school first started we received to review a backpack from a company called AIRBAC™ . AIRBAC™ is a unique backpack that is designed to help alleviate the stress the average backpack puts on your back and shoulders.

AIRBAC™ is the only backpack designed to alleviate the pressure and stress on a person’s upper and lower back caused by excessive weight. The patented air support system takes the weight off of the back by moving heavy contents into a more comfortable, back-friendly position, helping wearers feel like they’re carrying half of the weight. Offered in a wide variety of styles, AIRBAC™ was created for school-age children, college students, business travelers, outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.

AIRBAC™  features a small area at the bottom/back of the backpack that is filled with air. The backpack comes with the air already filled in the pouch. You can add more if needed with a bike tire air pump.

The AIRBAC™  backpack looks like an average backpack. It has plenty of room for books, a laptop or tablet, cellphone, supplies and more.

Airbac backpack

My son didn’t even notice that there was a “pocket” of air in the back of the backpack until I pointed it out to him.

AIRBAC™  doesn’t make the load you carry lighter, it simply helps with weight distribution, spinal alignment and posture.

In the past I’ve noticed that my son’s backpack would hang down low on his back, even when he uses the straps that go across his chest and waist. The weight of his books and supplies pulls the backpack down. I’m surprised he never tipped over backwards because of it.

With AIRBAC™  the air pocket helps to balance the load better, keeping the backpack where it should be. It doesn’t hang low causing distress on your shoulders.

Here are more benefits to using an AIRBAC™ backpack.

Promotes Better Posture and Spinal Alignment

People tend to bend forward or hunch to compensate for the extra weight in a regular backpack. The AIRBAC™ system, which evenly redistributes the weight across the back, allows the body to relax in an upright position, promoting better posture and proper spinal alignment.

Built-In Shock Absorbers

Repetitive impact due to running or walking with a heavy backpack can cause increased stress on the lower back. To address this issue, AIRBAC™ technology offers the ability to absorb the impact a heavy bag may have on the spine, helping outdoor enthusiasts to exercise pain-free.

Air-Cushioned Protection

The patented air support system coupled with AIRBAC™ padded technology offers a secure home for valuable contents, protecting laptops,
iPads and other important materials.

Adjustable for a Customized Fit

From children to adults and student-athletes to active outdoor enthusiasts, AIRBAC™ was designed to support the spinal health of all body types. The product’s padded shoulder straps and patented air support system adjust to meet a wide variety of body types.

My son loves this backpack. He’s never once complained about it like he has with other backpacks.He also tells me it’s more comfortable to wear.

I tried to get a photo of him wearing the AIRBAC™, but he’s 15 and teenagers are not always happy to pose for photos. This is the only photo I was able to snap when school first started (and the weather was nicer).

AIRBAC backpack

You can see how the backpack lays flat against his back. That is because the small pocket of air on the back/bottom. It keeps everything where it’s supposed to be.

This is a great video that gives you a better idea as to how AIRBAC™ is the better for you option.


AIRBAC™ is not only great for students but also for hikers, travelers and anyone else who lugs around a lot of things in a backpack.

I wish we knew about AIRBAC™ years ago. I would have purchased them for both of my kids.

The quality of the AIRBAC™ is outstanding. With proper care I am sure my son’s AIRBAC™ will last for a long time. It will be nice not having to replace his backpack every few months.

You would think a better for you product like AIRBAC™ would be very costly. Compared to other quality backpacks (and big brand name backpacks too), AIRBAC™ costs about the same. Student backpacks range from $49-$89. They also have different designs and colors available.

AIRBAC™ has plenty of room for all your “stuff” too.

If you would like to learn more about AIRBAC™ or check out the available styles, visit AIRBAC.com. You can also find the brand on social media (links found on the site’s home page).



*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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Heading off to college



Our oldest child is a senior in high school this year. In just a few short months she’ll officially be a high school graduate. How did that happen? It seems like yesterday she was performing in her 3rd grade class holiday concert and bringing home the artwork she made in class. Instead of helping her with her ABC’s my husband and are helping her to prepare for the next step – college!

Our daughter wants to go away to college – as in far away. It has nothing to do with us. She would like to spread her “wings and fly”.

We live in a tiny condo. We also do EVERYTHING together as a family – even if it’s not exactly what the kids want to do. I can totally understand why she wants to go away – so she can find herself and become her own person. We also cannot afford to travel. Our vacations are mostly day trips where we are back home by the end of the day. Our daughter is a lot like me – she wants to see the world and travel. Life is an adventure and she wants to relish every moment of it.

When I went to college I was supposed to go away too. No too far – just 3+ hours from home. My parents had other plans. They wanted to see how well I did in college before spending a small fortune to send me away. They told me to attend our local community college for a year. If I did well I could go to any college I wanted to. That sounded like a great deal to me.

I hate to admit it but my parents were right now to send me away.

My first semester I did “ok”. The second semester I pretty much failed every class. I enjoyed my new freedom a little TOO MUCH and barely attended class. I would rather hang out in the lounge or go to lunch with friends.

After that fiasco I quit college and got a full time job. It wasn’t for many years later when I matured enough to return to college and ended up graduating with honors and moving on to an accelerated Bachelor’s degree program. I was simply not ready to go to college when I first graduated. It happens. Sometimes students just need to take a year or two off before going to college.

Our daughter wants to go away to college, but we are making her go to a community college first. It has nothing to do with her not being ready – she IS ready for college. It’s simply a money issue and the fact that she has no clue what she wants to go to college for.

Where did the time go? They grow up TOO quickly!

Where did the time go? They grow up TOO quickly!

If our daughter had her own way she’d go to a college in California when she graduates in June (we live in New York). That is fine and dandy but the problem is she has no clue what she wants to go to college for. She keeps bouncing around ideas…

  • Lawyer
  • Paralegal
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Teacher
  • Fashion Merchandising

She simply cannot narrow it down. There is a huge difference between a lawyer and a fashion merchandiser and a Forensic Psychologist and teacher.

Our daughter is currently taking all college classes in her senior year of high school. That means when she graduates she’ll already have college credits and probably one semester of college already done. Therefore she’d only need to attend three more semesters to graduate with an Associates Degree.

Our “game plan” is for her to either go to our local community college for three semesters and then she can transfer anywhere she wants – or – attend the community college where her grandparents live and live with them. That way she’d be away from home but still with people who can help care for her. The only problem is my father has no clue what he and my stepmother are going to do next year. They might move, downsize or ???

Sadly our daughter might not have a choice. She might have to go to our local community college.


Money is a factor too. Our kids have a trust fund from their grandfather and currently our daughter has about $15,000 in her accounts. That is not a lot when it comes to college. Many colleges are double that amount – per semester! And that doesn’t include books or the dorms.

Until she figures out what she wants to go to college for we feel that it’s better if she goes to a community college which is cheaper (about $1,500 per semester) the go away to college and have her get into debt with student loans and have to pay $10,000++ for her to living in a dorm – money we don’t have. If she goes to community college it will give her time to figure it out while she gets the basic classes done and out of the way. She hates that idea but we don’t see any other way around it aside from her taking a year or two off to work and figure out what she wants to do with her life.

If you and your child are having a hard time figuring out going to college check out this FREE download helpful – 2014-2015 KapMap College Planner.

To find out other ways Kaplan can help your college bound student visit www.Kaptest.com/College-Prep. They can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Is your child heading off to college soon? Do they know what they want to major in? Do you know what college/colleges they are looking to get accepted into?

If you have a child currently in college, or recently graduated from college, feel free to share tips, suggestions and advice. It will not only help me but others who have children heading off to college.

You can also check out the hastag #JourneytoCollege to see what others are saying.

College Graduation


*This is a compensated post from She Speaks and Kaplan Test Prep however the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Enroll today in the Toyota Teen Driver Safety Clinics


Teen Driver

Do you have a teen driver in your family?

Our 17 year old finally took the plunge and got her learners permit. Now we’re just saving up to get her driving lessons. My husband and I both don’t think we have the patience or the “know how” to teach our daughter how to drive. We also feel like she would do better with a non-family member. We think she’s more likely to focus better. We’re also afraid that we might miss telling her important things. It’s best to  leave it to the “experts”.

I worry about my daughter driving. I don’t think she’ll be a bad driver, I just worry about the other little things she can’t control – like other drivers. Her safety is our #1 priority.

I remember when I first learned to drive. I think I was super paranoid at first. Then once I knew what I was doing I admit I showed off to my friends a bit and had a bit of a “lead foot”. In hindsight I was really foolish and if I could go back in time I would have taken safety much more seriously.

One safety tip that I learned that really came in handy was what to do if you are being followed.

When I was in my early 20’s I dated a guy who lived 6 hours away from where I lived. We would take turns driving back and forth to visit each other every other weekend. It was a long drive and many times the road was desolate. I was literally driving in the middle of no where. If I broke down I’d be in serious trouble. This was back in the day before there were cellphones.

Teen Driver 2

I would leave after work on Friday evening and leave to come home Sunday evening. I usually got back home around midnight.

On one of my trips back home there was a suspicious car behind me. I don’t know why the car stood out to me but it did. I suddenly felt very nervous.

I got off at one of the exists and the other car followed. Then I made my way back on to the main road and the car was right behind me again.

Then I remembered what my parents told me – if I am being followed I need to pull into a public place, or better yet, a Police station. Since I was unfamiliar with my surroundings I didn’t know where a Police station was. So I kept driving until I came across an exit where I knew there were stores and restaurants. I pulled my car into a restaurant parking lot (in a well lit area) and remained in my car with the door locked. I saw the car that was following me pass by. A few minutes later I saw it pass by again.

I waited a bit longer until I didn’t see the car, then I moved my car to another parking lot near by that was also well lit in hopes that if the driver came back they would see that my car was not there anymore and drive away.

After several minutes I felt confident that the driver was gone and I headed right back on the main road again and got out of there as quickly as I could. It was a very scary and dangerous situation.

I have told this story to my kids over and over again so that they know to do the same thing  if they are in a similar situation. Thankfully we have cellphones available to use these days so they can call 911 for help.

There is so much to teach teen drivers about safety. Toyota wants to help keep kids safe too. That is why they created the Toyota Teen Driver Safety Clinics. You can sign up for the clinic at a local Toyota dealership.

Here is more details about the Toyota Teen Driver Safety Clinic.

This FREE 2.5 hour non-driving interactive session provides both pre-driver and new-driver teens, as well as their parents, a beyond basics approach to road safety. It includes car care tips, coaching techniques and other practical tools in a safe, non-sales environment. Families participate in hands-on activities in class and around the car to promote safe-driving behavior.
This interactive clinic will cover topics such as:

  • Defensive driving “universal truths” and best practices
  • Understanding your vehicle’s performance dynamics
  • Dangerous driving distractions and how to avoid them
  • Car operations, safety features and basic maintenance fundamentals
  • Communication and coaching tips for parents and teens
  • Mutual driving agreements for pre-driver/new-driver teens and their parents

I really like what these clinics have to offer. I was never taught car care tips when I was a teen driver. I’m in my mid-40’s and I still don’t know how to change a flat tire!

I also like that they teach defensive driving. I think that is super important for teens (and adults!) to know.

Best of all these important clinics are FREE! I really appreciate Toyota offering this to consumers. You don’t need to own a Toyota to participate either.

Currently I only have locations in the New York and New Jersey area.

  • 9/20: Liberty Toyota Burlington, NJ
  • 9/21: Holman Toyota Mount Laurel, NJ
  • 10/04: Gault Toyota Endicott, NY
  • 10/05: Lia Toyota of Colonie Schenectady, NY
  • 10/11: DCH Toyota City Mamaroneck, NY
  • 10/12: DCH Freehold Toyota Freehold, NJ
  • 10/18: Millennium Toyota Hempstead, NY
  • 10/19: Penn Toyota Greenvale, NY
  • 10/25: Autoland Toyota Springfield, NJ
  • 10/26: Bay Ridge Toyota Brooklyn, NY

I’m not sure if they are adding other dates or other states. I hope they will. I think everyone should have the opportunity to take one of these special clinics.

If you would like more information, or to attend on of the events, please RSVP here.

You can follow Toyota on Twitter (@Toyota) and the official hashtag for this event is #TeenDrive365.

What do you think about what Toyota is doing to keep teen drivers safe on the road?

Do you plan on attending one of these events?

Feel free to share your thoughts or personal stories about teen driving.

Car Keys


This post was written as part of my association with TeenDrive365 and the Toyota Teen Driver Safety Clinic. For more information on the Toyota Teen Driver Safety Clinic, please visit http://ly/1nfUJ0e

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Alert and Track People in Emergencies with Silent Beacon


For more information about Silent Beacon please visit this link – Silent Beacon: Alert & track people in emergencies

car crime

As a parent of teenagers I think I have aged 20+ years in a matter of just a couple of years. It’s not that my kids have that not-so-lovely teenage attitude (they do, but that is not what ages me). It’s learning to let go and trust them. Fortunately our son is a homebody and never wants to go out. Our daughter on the other hand has been yearning to spread her wings and fly.

Begrudgingly we have been giving in to out daughter. Over the past few months we’ve let her go to an amusement park in the next state with a bunch of teenage friends, go to an after prom party (she didn’t attend prom – her friends wanted her to be at the party), bonfires in people’s backyards and even driving around town with another teenage driver. Teenage drivers make me nervous – especially those who just recently received their license.

We want our children to have fun and experience life which includes going places with friends. It’s their safety that concerns us. Case in point, one young man who had a crush on my daughter was at a party (not with my daughter) and he attempted to rape one of the girls at the party in his car. Another time my daughter was driving with her friends at night at a deer jumped out in front of them and the young driver almost hit it which could have caused an accident. One of my daughter’s friends almost hit a BEAR on the way home one night!

Did you know that a violent crime happens every 26 seconds? That is a very sobering thought.

Violent Crime

You also have to take into consideration that accidents can happen in a heartbeat.

Here is additional facts about emergencies. These are very alarming facts.

Every 26 seconds, someone becomes the victim of a violent crime. These attacks range from forced rape to aggravated assault. A sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes. More than 50% of these assaults take place within a one-mile radius of the victim’s home – or at home. Even more disturbing is the fact that only 12% of these attacks ever lead to an arrest.

Every day, 2,300 people go missing, and this number includes abductions. Of those missing people, very few (if any) are found using their cell phones. Why? By law, when attempting to track a missing person via cellphone, you must subpoena his or her cell phone company for access to the last known ‘ping’. This process wastes valuable time.

An automobile accident occurs every 6 seconds in the U.S., with a fatality from driving every 16 minutes. Due to the difficulty of pinpointing someone’s exact location while driving, the Silent Beacon ensures that medical personnel and family members know exactly where a user is – and can reach that person quickly.

If my daughter was in a situation where her safety was at stake, or if she was in an accident, what would she do? Sometimes grabbing for your cellphone and dialing someone’s number – especially when you are in a state of panic – is not that easy. Suddenly those numbers seem to disappear from memory.

What you need is something you can press – like a button – that can alert loved ones or emergency personal that there is an emergency.

There are products on the market like this but often they come with a hefty monthly or yearly fee. Not only that, some of them require you to be near a base unit which won’t help you when you are out for a job or driving across country.

There is a new product that is a new product that will soon be readily available that uses modern technology to not only alert people in case of an emergency, but also sends out your GPS location so people can find you.

The product is called Silent Beacon. Silent Beacon is a wearable, waterproof, rechargeable Bluetooth device that connects to smartphones allowing for real time GPS alerts. Silent Beacon can instantly notify loved ones, friends and emergency personal and/or 911 in an emergency situation. When the device is activated it will send an alert via text message and/or email along with your exact GPS location.

You can also speak with someone on your emergency contact list verbally from the Silent Beacon too. This would be especially handy in the event of an assault where you can quickly describe your attacker in hopes that valuable information can help the authorities capture the assailant quickly.

Here is some addition information about the Silent Beacon.



This brief video hosted by the creator of Silent Beacon provides you with additional information about this personal safety product.


I think everyone will agree that a device like this is greatly needed by just about everyone – young, old, sick, teenagers, women, hikers, campers… the list goes on.

As someone who has a tight budget I need to stick to, price and affordability is a huge factor when considering when to purchase something. My mother in law had a personal safety device when she was still alive and the monthly fee was so much she had to cancel it. What is the point of having the device if the monthly service fee is not affordable?

Compared to other leading personal safety products, Silent Beacon is the most “budget friendly”.


There will soon be a call center option for Silent Beacon for an additional fee for anyone who wants such an option, otherwise the only cost for the Silent Beacon is the cost of the unit it’s self (the companion application is free to download and use).

As a parent I want my children to be able to notify us and emergency people quickly and easily. I would love for them to have a Silent Beacon. I would love to get one for myself too. I travel for blogger related things and I’d feel comfortable knowing I can reach people in case of an emergency. Being in a strange city means I wouldn’t be able to provide my location. I love that the Silent Beacon can provide that valuable information via GPS. I plan on getting 3-4 Silent Beacons as soon as I have the money for them – one for each member of my family.

The Silent Beacon is small and lightweight. You can easily hook it to your key chain, on a backpack, belt loop or even on a chain around your neck.

If you would like more information about Silent Beacon visit the Silent Beacon page on Indiegogo. You can also check out Silent Beacon on Facebook and Twitter.

What do you think about Silent Beacon? Does it sound like something you would like to have for yourself and/or your family? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Silent Beacon

Silent Beacon


*I have partnered with Silent Beacon to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are entirely  my own and not influenced in any way. 



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Financial Literacy Month: How to Have the Money Conversation with Your Kids



As a parent you are constantly helping your children develop an understanding of the world around them.  As your children grow older, the conversations evolve from teaching your children basic skills, like manners, to more complicated topics, like financial management.

April is Financial Literacy Month, so it’s a great opportunity to try and make a point to talk to your kids about money and how to manage it. Maybe you bring it up while you’ve got them in your backseat on the way to school or while handing out allowances; as long as you get the conversation going, that’s what matters.

Financial literacy is the ability to understand the language of finance. Taking the time to introduce even simple concepts about what financially-related words mean can help your children greatly in the future. Financial literacy or financial education will allow your kids to make informed decisions regarding the management of their money and gain greater understanding of how money works in the world around them.

You may be surprised to learn that teens are anxious to have more of these money-related conversations, as well. According to a Teens & Personal Finance Survey conducted by Junior Achievement USA (in partnership with The Allstate Foundation) more than half of all boys and girls surveyed stated that, “when it comes to financial literacy, parents/guardians do not spend enough time talking to them about money-related topics.”

Helping your kids understand money at an early age doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Below are some simple tips to help get you started!


With your younger children, bring up money conversations in everyday life to help them understand the value of the dollar. Some examples of how to do this may be to discuss wants versus needs when watching various commercials on TV or talking about how much things cost when you are at the store. Here at Oink, we love the lessons and milestones offered on moneyasyougrow.org!


One of the ways to enforce the knowledge on the value of a dollar is helping them plan for things they want. Some ideas of how to do this include making a wish list. This gives your kids an opportunity to earn money and save for big items. Another option is to give your kids a budget for birthday presents so that your pre-teen experiences finding the best deals on different gift ideas for their friends.


As kids get older, open a bank account that will let them pay for things and learn how money comes in and goes out in a tangible way. As an extra incentive, you can even work with them to plan a vacation together and teach various budgeting lessons throughout the planning experience.


Preparing for college or the workforce is an excellent time to introduce terms that your young adult will need to understand in the near future. If your child is taking out a student loan, be sure to discuss interest rates with them and go over repayment terms. If your child is opening their first credit card, be sure to discuss borrowing mechanisms, such as APR and credit limits. Make sure your soon-to-be adult understands credit scores and the difference they can make on an APR in the future.

You don’t have to be a money expert to have these conversations with your child. Just introducing simple money concepts will go a long way towards fostering financial wellness. It’s also important to remember that you, as a parent, don’t have to be in an excellent financial situation to still be helpful in your child’s financial literacy. Don’t be afraid to talk about your own money struggles – it can be a good way to learn and grow together. What’s important is instilling a good knowledge of how money works so that children are eventually able to make smart and informed decisions on their own.

Happy Financial Literacy Month!

Piggy Bank

About Rebecca Howell

Rebecca Howell is the Marketing Manager for Oink.com, the first e-commerce solution that enables teens to manage, spend, and give their money within a parent-controlled environment. The technology offers parental controls and a budgeting dashboard for the entire family.

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How to select the best college for your child?



When people say “time flies by quickly” they are not exaggerating. It seems like only yesterday our sweet big eyed daughter was running around here with her Barney stuffed doll and her hair in pigtails. She’s almost 17 years old now and instead of Teletubbies and Dora the Explorer she’s into boys and trying to convince us to let her go to Florida on Spring Break with an 18 year old friend (no way!).

Sigh… if only they could stay young for a longer time.

We’re not prepared for a lot of things that come with having an older teenager. It’s enough just trying to help her find a job so she can afford a car, which is another thing we are not ready for. We also have to think about college. She’s going to be a senior in the fall. NOW is the time to think about where she wants to go, what she wants to study and spend our weekends making college visits.

When I was in high school and I was planning on going to college I wanted to go to a college that my friends were going to – or one that was known as a “party school”. I was young and foolish then. I didn’t think about college curriculums, entrance exams and essays, financial aid, student loans or what college majors have the strongest job prospects. I just wanted to go and hang out with my friends. What a big mistake that was.

I’m NOT letting our daughter make the same mistakes that I made. I want her to know everything there is to know about selecting a college, applying for college and how to afford college.

You CAN find this information online, but you’ll go crazy researching it. There are so many websites and so much different information to be found online. I prefer to have it all in one place by a trusted resource. That is why I am going to get a copy of the book by U.S. News & World Report called Best Colleges 2014. This guide book is filled with the latest, up to date, information and includes all important information you’ll need to consider when selecting a college.

Best Colleges 2014 cover for B&N Better Paper Project promo

I like that the book starts off with something that is very important for all college bound students – WHY are you going to college? How do you learn best? What activities matter most? Can you handle the pressure?

Our daughter wants to go to a college on the west coast (we’re in NY). I can understand that she wants to “spread her wings and fly” and be independent, we also don’t think she’s “equipped” to handle something like that… yet. We’d like for her to go to a college locally for a couple of years to see how she does then she can transfer any where she wants to go.

I love that the book points out which schools offers the best internships, which schools foster a sense of community with incoming freshmen and which schools are best for certain degrees.

Throughout the book you’ll also find informative articles/essays written by professionals that also help you and your student prepare for life beyond high school.

Here is just one of the articles you’ll find in the book (shared with permission).

Admissions Officers Speak Out: Application Mistakes To Avoid

Some types of mistakes on college applications drive admissions staffers crazy (and sometimes send the applicant straight to the rejection pile). U.S. News asked pros from around the country to weigh in on what they’d strongly rather you not do. Here’s a sampling from the 13 goofs they identified:

Let parents take the lead

“It doesn’t tell us that a student is interested if we get 15 phone calls from Mom,” says Tom Weede, vice president for enrollment management at Butler University. “We want families involved. But the student needs to take the lead.” 

Submit a lengthy résumé

“At my stage in my career, I shouldn’t have a three-page résumé. So no 17-year-old should be submitting a three-page résumé,” advises Leigh A. Weisenburger, dean of admission and financial aid at Bates College . “I know many college counselors encourage students to write one as a process to help the kid recognize all she’s accomplished, but we don’t need to see it if you’ve filled out the application properly.” 

Hit submit without proofreading

“Using spell-check isn’t enough – you have to proofread,” warns Debra Chermonte, dean of admissions and financial aid at Oberlin College. Admissions officers tell of one applicant who described having an “international bachelorette” degree and another who wrote a passionate essay about the musical “Lion King.” 

Wait until the last minute

“Many students who submit on the date of the deadline assume that everything transmitted and was received. But sometimes things are lost in cyberspace,” says Julie Shimabukuro, director of undergraduate admissions at Washington University in St. Louis. “We try to give a few days’ grace period, but colleges and universities expect you to confirm that your application has been received and that it is complete. Check your status through the college’s or university’s website first to see if everything is there.”

Write a one-size-fits-all essay

“If you write an essay for a university, and then you write that essay again and it’s just a matter of changing the name of the university, then it’s probably going to be a poor essay. And yes, we have gotten students who forget to change ‘Northwestern’ to “Rice,’” reports Chris Muñoz, vice president for enrollment at Rice University. “Why, specifically, have you chosen us? Demonstrating true interest and care can make a difference on the margin.”

Trump up your extracurricular activities

“We want to know where a student’s passions lie, and genuine interests tend not to appear suddenly in senior year,” states Sarah Richardson, director of admissions and scholarships for Creighton University. I’d rather see quality over quantity. Include as much detail as you can so that we can understand what kind of a fit you’ll be for our institution.” 

Fail to check our requirements

“There’s nothing more disappointing than to review an application of a student who might otherwise be competitive for admission and realize she is ineligible because she didn’t take the required courses, says Kelly A. Walter , associate vice president and executive director of admissions for Boston University. “For very focused and specific programs and majors like business, you’re required to have specific quantitative skills. Or for physical therapy and athletic training, a very strong foundation in both science and math is a critical factor in the admissions process. So look at all the curriculum requirements for things you may be interested in.”

Excerpted from “Oops! These Goofs May Ruin Your Chances” in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2014.

Thankfully this article will help us to avoid these mistakes.

I made A LOT of mistakes when it came to college. I wasn’t prepared and I didn’t think things through. As a result I dropped out after one year and had to wait several years before I was able to return to college with a better head on my shoulders.

I am getting a copy of this book not only for me and my husband but also for our daughter. She needs to start taking things more seriously and start narrowing down her choice of schools that are not entirely based on location (she’s only looking at where is a school is located – not at what it has to offer or how much it costs). She also needs to narrow down her major and find out if it’s a major that will help her to land a job when she graduates or does she need to reconsider and come up with alternative options just in case?

You can find the book at retail locations like Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. You can also purchase the guidebook HERE. Use the discount code SCHOOL25 to save 25%.

If you have a child heading off the college soon or you have already survived sending a child off to college, would you care to share any words of advice and tips? Not only will it help me but others who are reading this post. I value your feedback.



*I have partnered with U.S. News and World Reports to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.

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