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So far Michelle Balaun has created 126 blog entries.

Sorority Recruitment – COVID Edition


As college students, it’s hard to think about our future when we don’t even know the plan for the next day. Being in a sorority is such a huge part of many students' social life. Typically fall sorority life is full of date functions, semi-formals, homecoming events, and philanthropic events almost every weekend. Now that COVID is in the picture many new members are wondering what they will even get out of rushing, considering everything seems to be changing daily. I am here to explain to you how fall is planning on looking like so you can keep telling your parents that it’s worth it, because I promise, it is!

Deals and Coupons for Savvy Students and Parents


HaveUHeard provides the inside scoop from current students and parents; a been there, done that approach from trusted sources… A place to get information right at your fingertips instead of having to go searching on many other websites. We do an extensive amount of research in answering every question. But, we go the extra mile, bringing our own personal experience and provide practical real-life advice.

How To Negotiate Your Salary


How exactly do you learn to negotiate? Negotiating anything does not come naturally to most of us, least of all recent graduates from college who are ecstatic just to have a job offer in hand. What follows is some overall advice to pass along to your children regarding how best to negotiate salary offers they receive from employers: First, make a budget for your overall expenses. Then, ask yourself, “What are my value-statements to pose to an employer?

How To Ask For A Reference Letter


We are all guilty of procrastination from time to time, but what students often forget is how very busy professors, research advisors, and employers actually are in terms of their ability to provide a quick turnaround reference for a last-minute opportunity. I think students also fail to realize how incredibly long it can take to write a valuable reference that might make the difference between getting a job, scholarship, or graduate school position and not getting one. On average, I’d say these can take me anywhere from 1-3 hours. That is a big ask for already-stretched-thin people with multiple time commitments in any given day. 

How to Interview Successfully


Few things are more exciting than being granted an interview with a company you are seeking a job with, but few things are also more nerve-wracking than that actual process. What follows is some overall advice to pass along to your children regarding successful interviewing strategies. Think about how you connect the skill you are illustrating to experience with specific examples. 

Branding – Why It’s Like A Tattoo For College Students


Tattoo’s you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. They are a symbol, a representation of a generation, of experience, personal expression. College students usually have a few, right? I’m a branding mentor and I think the best way to explain branding to college students is to explain why it’s like a tattoo. Here we go, as a kid, this generation has grown up with the internet, social media, and all the positives and negatives that brings. They aren’t bothered by it and certainly are not afraid of it. They have been working at getting into college, studying and worrying about where this earth is going.

To Work or Not to Work…


Did you know that about 40% of undergraduate college students work at least 30 hours a week? Some students look at college as their job and are fortunate to not need the additional income while studying, but others work to supplement the allowance their parents generously send or to put themselves through college and pay bills. Students often work on campus while others will find jobs locally. They can check with professors or departments for jobs. This can be a great way to ease into a field of study that may lead to an internship or even a long-term position.

A Virtual Career Fair Is Well Worth Your Time


We have all had to get used to a lot of fundamental changes in the past few months in our work, school, and home lives. As we head into the fall semester with so many unknowns, one thing we do know is that the job and internship search for our students is going to be markedly different – indefinitely. And I believe that many of these changes are here to stay well after COVID-19 is in our rearview mirrors.

Student Discounts – Money Saving Resources


Student discounts… they are everywhere but many students forget to ask. I recall many times when we were in a store and I nudged my daughters to ask if they offered a student discount. After the obligatory eye roll, they asked and learned yes they do; unfortunately, it required them to have their student ID with them so they did not get the discount.

FERPA Explained


What is FERPA? One thing we parents don’t like losing is control, and when our kids go to college, we lose a LOT of it. Once they leave the nest, we don’t often know where they are or who they are with, if they are going to class, if they are up all night, if they are eating or exercising. But what we do know is that we can’t see their grades unless they fill out FERPA-compliant paperwork allowing us to do so, and even then, most universities have separate teaching platforms for classes versus student records so you aren’t really seeing much beyond their overall transcript.

Advice We’d Give our Parent-of-a-college-student Self


Sometimes, just having a little advice can be very reassuring. We’ve trained for this moment for about eighteen years and somehow when it gets here, we often feel blindsided. Perhaps, if someone would have told me, well, this… You probably won’t talk every day. Generally, we have found you’re more apt to hear from daughters a bit more than sons. The best time to talk is often on their walk to or from classes. If that call is important to you, you may want to consider how their class schedule works on your own. However; do not sit by the phone.

Should My Student Go Back to College this Fall?


This is such an incredibly complex question with no simple answer. I think we parents all quietly hoped, despite all evidence to the contrary, that we would not even be in the position of having to make this kind of choice. But here we are – preparing for fall semesters all across the globe, wondering, often justifiably panicking, at what lies before us. What should you and your child be considering when debating whether or not to return to school this fall?

Advice They’d Give Their Freshman Self


You only get to be a freshman in college once, so before you go, our interns want to share some advice. While none of them know what it is like to start college during a pandemic and that will create a unique set of circumstances, you will still have some great experiences. The beginning of your first year in college is overwhelming, stressful, but most importantly exciting. Looking back, you want to have the best memories and have made the year something you will keep with you for the rest of your life.

Dealing with Uncertainty


A lot is out of our control and many facets of our lives are being impacted including school, work, finances, socializing, and travel. Waiting in limbo can create a lot of stress, anxiety, fear, and depression, and that may leave some in unchartered territories on how to cope. Be gentle with yourself, but also acknowledge that you are already navigating this; you are building resiliency and you did not even realize it!

Here’s One for the Books, College Textbook Info


Books average around $1000 annually (These figures are averages and will vary from student to student and university to university.They are indirect costs not billed by the university). Now that students are getting ready to return to school, the reality begins. The whole reason they are at college is to learn and take classes, meaning they will need to have the necessary tools to do so, including books. Textbooks can be very expensive, so it is important to make informed decisions when picking out books to buy or rent.

What Are Your Legal Rights With Your Student?


It was close to 10 p.m. when I received the call from my daughter, now a junior in college, that she had fallen during an intramural soccer game and was pretty sure she broke her elbow. Her friend was driving her to the emergency room. Here I was, over 350 miles away, it was late at night and I would not be able to do much of anything but worry. I told her to put me on speakerphone when she saw a doctor so I could hear what was going on. I had not given any thought to the fact that my daughter was over 18 years of age, so legally, I was not entitled to the same level of information, or access, that I had been for her first 18 years.

Mental Health Issues in College Students


College students are gearing up for yet another school year but now with a whole lot more uncertainty than students past. Terms with the words “crisis” and “epidemic” are being used by top experts to describe the mental health challenges American college students are facing. A 2018 and 2019 student survey conducted by the American College Health Association (ACHA) indicated that approximately 60% of students felt “overwhelming” anxiety, and 40% felt severe depressive symptoms that interfered with daily functioning.

How Will Students Stay Safe & Sane at College


Safe, sane, and happy? As colleges devise plans to reopen in the fall, they are also coming up with ways to keep our students safe, sane and healthy. However, no matter what rules they come up with and how many masks they distribute; students have to adhere to them if they are going to be effective. Sadly, as soon as the bars opened in one college town; they were packed with mask-free college students desperate for some long-awaited fun, and within a week, students started to test positive for Covid19.

Shopping Guide for the New Student -2020


Shopping for your soon-to-be college student is exciting, exhausting, and expensive. HaveUHeard how much there is to shop for? What you may need for your dorm depends on where you’ll be staying. In some dorms, because of the communal bathrooms, you won’t need a shower mat or shower curtain but in suite-style dorms and apartments, you will need to add this to your list.

Cares Act Information


Under the CARES ACT enacted on March 27th, 2020,  higher education institutions received funds to support students and higher education institutions with expenses and financial aid needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If your student needs additional financial assistance after exhausting all other options, they should apply online at their school’s online resources. Students with existing FAFSA applications are being given priority.

Colleges are Talking About Learning Terms, What are They?


When my oldest started college, there were all sorts of terms that began floating in and out of our conversations that led me directly to Google. Years later, the new terminology keeps coming particularly now, with so many changes to how our college students are learning. There are quite a few words and phrases that have become commonplace that can be helpful to know especially as universities determine how classes will be delivered in the fall.

Let Them Eat Cake! Not really though!


Under normal circumstances, many of us have seen firsthand how often our kids were getting sick once they were at college. We chalked it up to many factors including lack of sleep, being around other people who are sick, lack of exercise, late-night hours… and not eating healthy. As students head back to campus, there has never been a more important time for students to try to make good decisions so they stay healthy, so no cake, okay?

College in the Fall


Right about now our high school seniors should be attending graduation parties and beginning their shopping sprees to fill the dorm rooms of whichever college they decided on. However, these unprecedented times – are you as tired of that term as I am – have put another decision on our plates.

Managing College Chaos, When to Intervene


I tend to see certain patterns throughout any given semester in my office. Leading into the first round of exams is always total chaos. And finals. Total chaos, particularly in the spring. Students get very worked up about their performance and how to juggle so many things at once since most exams seem to fall during the same weeks for all their classes (week 3, week 6, etc).

First Semester Expectations for your Student


As their first semester gets underway, you may have some new questions or concerns. We, at HaveUHeard, are real parents of real college kids and we know we certainly did. For instance, why do they seem like they are struggling academically when they got such good grades in high school? Where can they go to get some tutoring? How can they deal with stress at college? So, for all the things that Orientation did not answer, we hope we can help.

Apply for Scholarships


To get a scholarship you have to apply for scholarships! There are so many to choose from and some pitfalls. We have the info for you! If you have Florida Prepaid and your student was fortunate to qualify for Bright Futures, that will help pay for a lot of college expenses. Our daughters had both (Bright Futures changed its payout from 2010-2014 so we did not get as much as our second daughter did). There were many more college expenses that were not covered by them having both.

Registering to Vote while at College


Students in a new city adapting to a busy college schedule, the voting process can seem daunting. As an 18-year-old freshman, most don’t even know where or how to register or where to go to vote! With an election year coming up, taking the time to go to the polls and vote is more important than ever. So, how can you do it? Each college has places to go for all things voting-related. They offer a variety of information from registering to vote to where to vote on election day, including information for students who are residents of Florida, as well as those from out of state.

A Perfect 10


We know that college is complicated and getting all of the answers can be daunting, frustrating, and stressful. Some of us rely on our students sharing information with us, some will spend time searching the college website or the parent pages and some will even call the school. We get it because we are also parents of college students who had so many of what we have come to refer to as “huh?” moments.

Diversity and Inclusion for LGBTQ College Students


College can be challenging for all students which is why finding ways to make connections with others who identify similarly can make a big difference. Although LGBTQ PRIDE is becoming more prevalent, the LGBTQ community often face additional pressures or concerns. The majority of college campuses today offer resources and information about support systems available to both help navigate the college environment and make connections in a group setting.

Sorority Recruitment: What to Expect & What to Wear


I remember my daughters going through sorority recruitment. The first one was convinced that her outfit selections were the reason she got dropped from many of the houses. That is very hard to hear from your daughter especially when you have spent much of their lives trying to teach them that beauty comes from within. I did not want them so focused on brands or trying to dress in a way that was not representative of who they were. But, recruitment is one of those times when you are judged on appearances.

Want to Get Back The Security Deposit?


There is a way to get the security deposit back but it will require a little effort, here is how we can help you. I have personally been through four dorm move-outs (summer and fall for two daughters) and six apartment move-outs not to mention our bloggers. And yes, there have been plenty of move out charges ranging from the burned desk chair in her dorm room (courtesy of a hair appliance), to dirty stovetop drip pans (yes some apartment managers will charge you for that).

Campus Resources for Students of Color


Campus diversity amongst students has grown over the years and most colleges acknowledge the need to honor African America College groups. Colleges also propose to create campuses that maintain an inclusive atmosphere; allowing all its students to gain exposure, perceptions, global awareness, and a willingness to collaborate peacefully and freely. College campuses strive to support their black organizations and students.

Jobs That May Pay for Your Student Loan


Imagine getting your student loans paid off. It may sound too good to be true, but HaveUHeard if you work for a certain amount of time in a job with student loan forgiveness options, you could get your loan balance canceled? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a job that you plan to stick with for the rest of your life, although that would be great too; however, the experience these jobs could provide can also beef up a resume for later.

College Majors to Pursue


Students usually choose their majors over a period of time. I have always been a fan of taking a variety of classes until you find the ones that you enjoy most and choosing your majors around that. However; in these unprecedented times, students might want to take recent events into consideration when choosing a major. As with any major event, such as a recession, war, or, in this case, a pandemic, there is a shift in what type of degree a student may want to consider pursuing.

Grocery Stores


Even though you think these things should go without saying, we know our kids sometimes need some reminders. On-campus or off, meal plans, or not, your student will need to get groceries at some point in time. Most campuses have a fair amount of grocery stores close to campus and some even provide transportation to and from them. Some stores have an app to pre-shop to save time. And most today have apps that offer special discounts and exclusive deals, so make sure your student takes advantage of this and downloads them!

Safety Nets for Students


These unprecedented times, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have left some students facing new challenges. The colleges recognize this and are updating their websites to offer additional information and offer a safety net for students. Like the news, the material changes rapidly and HaveUHeard is doing its best to pass along resourceful and factual information.

How to Excel With Online and Virtual Classes


Online and distance learning is not a new concept at colleges. Even high schools required students to have an online class to become familiar with this type of learning. What has changed is that almost all colleges and universities have moved to virtual classrooms until further notice. Some say two weeks, some for the remainder of the semester. Almost all universities have systems in place to handle the unique environment we are in and they are continually updating students and staff.

Food for Thought – College Student Dilemma


As college campuses throughout the country move to virtual classrooms, the fact remains that there are students at college that will remain in their university town. Perhaps they are unable to work or perhaps their finances are strained. No matter the reason, there are resources available both on and off-campus for food pantries. While they are currently limiting how many people can access the pantry, many are remaining open. If the university does not have an on-campus food bank, they certainly have community food banks.

Online Test Taking for College Students


Online test-taking can solve many issues. Many students have experienced taking exams throughout the semester in allocated classrooms all across the university due to large volumes of students taking the same exam at the same time. For example, in some classes, there may be at least 300 students. It would be impractical to attempt to test that many students in one room without chaos or the threat of major cheating. Thus, several smaller classrooms must be reserved to spread out all 300 students taking the exam. This can also be a long and tedious process, and classrooms are not always available because they are already in use. To avoid this situation, many teachers opt to use online testing services. Simply put, they are live online proctoring services that allows students to take exams on their computers. Proctors hired, use a specific protocol to replicate the face-to-face proctoring experience through the internet. Through this virtual process, proctors can see the student, see what they are doing on their computer screen, and monitor their testing environment. Because of their adherence to high accreditation standards within the industry, most of these proctoring services are used among colleges throughout the country. Our interns share info on setting up their online service and some best chance at success tips. Read more...

Tapestry Girls


One of the best and most exciting parts about attending college is getting to live in a dorm. The freedom of being away from your parents is incredibly liberating, and even though space may be small, it’s all yours. Now it's time to put your personal touch on the room. Decorating your dorm room is a fantastic way to quickly make your new home feel just as inviting as the one you came from.

The Container Store


The Container Store has grown to be the leading specialty retailer of storage and organization products in the United States and the only national retailer solely devoted to the category. With locations from coast to coast, their stores average 25,000 square-feet and offer more than 10,000 innovative products. They're not just selling empty boxes; our time-saving solutions allow us to give our customers the promise of organized life.

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