Get Into These 4 Healthy Habits as You Head off to College

By K.C. Dermody

For most college students, going off to school brings the first real sense of independence and freedom. You’ll experience an abundance of unfamiliarity as you’re exposed to a new learning environment and living arrangements filled with different types of people. With this new environment and people comes a host of germs and viruses that can easily be passed around, potentially keeping you from your studies and threatening to impact your grades. In fact, 68 percent of college students stated that they missed class due to illness, according to a survey conducted on behalf of global hygiene company SCA.

You’ll probably make every effort to look your best by taking frequent showers and wearing the latest fashions, but there are many aspects of hygiene that college students commonly overlook. Ensure you’re taking the proper steps for good health this semester with these four tips:

1. Wash your hands often

Mom probably reminded you every single day to wash your hands, but now that you’re out on your own, it’s easy to forget. Good hand hygiene habits are crucial for preventing the spread of cold and flu viruses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers these startling facts about hand washing:

  • It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50 percent.
  • More than 50 percent of healthy people have Staphylococcus aureus living in or on their nasal passages, throats, hair, or skin.
  • Hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16 percent.

Germs are commonly passed along when shaking someone’s hand, touching a stair railing or door knob, and handling money among many other common activities. Protect yourself by washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 to 30 seconds.

washing hands

2. Take care of your contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses, you should know that they carry a risk of eye infection, particularly if good hygiene practices aren’t followed. Be sure to carefully follow the lens care guidelines your optician or ophthalmologist prescribed, and replace contact lenses frequently in order to reduce the risk of infection. Save money by ordering them online from a company like VisionDirect.

3. Maintain good oral health

Taking good care of your mouth and teeth helps to ensure that you have a healthy, attractive smile in addition to eliminating bacteria that can cause bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. Brush at least twice a day, and replace your toothbrush every three to four months. If you notice the bristles becoming frayed, it’s time to get a new one. Proper daily flossing is also a must. Floss one tooth at a time by sliding the floss in the space between your tooth and gum, gently rubbing the side of the tooth in and up and down motion.

4. Launder bed linens frequently

Laundry may be inconvenient with your new packed schedule and your living accommodations, but make every effort to wash your pillow cases, comforters and sheets in hot water and detergent at least once a week. Dust mites are drawn to the dark, moist environment of a mattress, and mite infestations are known to cause allergies and rashes as well as exacerbating asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.


About the author: K.C. Dermody is a freelance writer who has published work on numerous sites and in printed publications, including Yahoo Travel, Sports & News, RunLiveLearn and The Sherpa Report.

Going to college?  Give yourself the gift of good grades with The Secrets of Top Students!


The Secrets of Top Students Special Offer

For a limited time, you can buy the Kindle edition of The Secrets of Top Students for $2.99! Act now – this offer won’t last long. Give yourself – or your kids – the gift of great grades in high school and college.

The Secrets of Top Students: Special Sale!

The Secrets of Top Students: Special Sale!

Here’s what people have been saying about the book:

Praise for The Secrets of Top Students

“An insightful guide for high achievers—and those aspiring to such status—from an authoritative source, Stefanie Weisman, a Columbia University graduate and former valedictorian of Stuyvesant High School, two of the best schools in America. Stefanie Weisman’s book about the secrets of academic success is all the more amazing, given the learning disabilities that she overcame to become the ultimate academic overachiever. As a graduate of Stuyvesant High School myself, as well as a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University, I believe students can find happiness and achieve great things at any number of schools, and Stefanie Weisman offers hard-fought wisdom about how to get there.”
Alec Klein, Northwestern University professor, bestselling author and award-winning journalist

“Although the target audience is high school and college students, the book is a must-read for students in middle school and up, teachers, parents, and guidance counselors as 21st-century students learn to excel in the new educational landscape in which they find themselves.”
Tammy Turner, Centennial High School, Frisco, TX; School Library Journal, July 2013 issue

“We wish we had Stefanie Weisman’s new book . . . when we were in school, but our loss is your child’s gain as this book goes beyond advising how to test better; it’s loaded with strategies on how to get the most out of school in a healthy, well-rounded way that will continue to serve your scholar well throughout their life.”
Lisa J. Curtis, Brooklyn Family Magazine, August 2013 issue

“A student who followed even half of the suggestions in this book could come away from college with both a greater understanding of the material and a significantly higher G.P.A.”
Dr. Mindy Marks, Associate Professor of Economics at Washington University, St. Louis, and Co-Author of “Leisure College, USA: The Decline in Student Study Time”

“This is perhaps the best and most pragmatic guide to academic success I have read that is relevant to today’s students. One thing that sets this book apart is that it provides special information for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, aka STEM subjects.”
Stuart Nachbar, President of Educated Quest,

“Undergraduates who want to excel in college will find a helpful resource in this book.”
Joseph Adegboyega-Edun, Counselor/College Adviser, Walter Johnson High School, Bethesda (MD)

10 Skills High School Students Must Have To Prepare Themselves for College Life (Guest Post)

It’s never too early to learn new skills, especially if you know these skills will be central for college success. College is very different from high school; your responsibilities and the self-discipline required to meet them increase drastically. By cultivating these skills as a high school student you will be able to prepare adequately for college life.

College awaits you.  Be prepared!

College awaits you. Be prepared!

1.         Time Management

Coursework, classes, and exams are your basic responsibilities in college, so it’s essential to be able to manage your time wisely to avoid pressing deadlines and failure to commit to your responsibilities. Honing your organizational skills will help you act proactively and manage your time more efficiently.

Time management is closely related to your study habits. To manage your time efficiently you need to review your notes daily, expand on them, and assign time for research and comprehension, especially for challenging textbook reading.

2.         Stress Management

College can be very stressful if you’re not prepared for it. During your high school years, make an effort to always have your stress levels under control. Sticking to a healthy, balanced lifestyle will ensure your stress can be managed in a sustainable and effective manner.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, take care of your body and mind; engage in sports, eat healthily, and find channels for expressing your frustration, whether it’s through art, writing, or talking with someone. Knowing how to relax and process your anxieties rationally are two other important aspects of stress management you should master before college starts.

3.         Computer Literacy

Technology is changing education from the roots up. Having basic computer literacy skills, like touch typing and researching, are skills you will find handy in college. Many students find it easier to use a laptop or a tablet for note-taking, so mastering fast and accurate typing skills will facilitate your studying.

4.         Critical Thinking

In college you will be expected to critically analyze study material, journal articles, and other often obscurely-written academic material. Critical thinking is the ability to engage intellectually with what you read. Rather than passively taking in new knowledge, critical thinking and analyzing means you assess, challenge, and then absorb new knowledge in ways that ensure it can be beneficial and, as much as possible, objective and freed from dominant discourses.

5.         Note-Taking

Note-taking is a complex skill. It requires attention, critical thinking abilities, and efficient writing so as to not miss any valuable remarks by your instructor. High school is a great time for starting to work on your note-taking skills, which you will find to be essential for college success.

If you choose to use a laptop or tablet for note-taking, you need to have advanced typing skills to keep up with your professors’ speech. So better brush up on your typing skills today!

6.         Note Reviewing

It’s not enough to take good notes if you never bother studying them. More of a habit than a skill per se, daily reviewing of your notes means less time during exam preparation because you will already have substantially covered and comprehended the study material.

7.         Motivation

In college you will not have as much support from your parents and instructors; college is a more independent road you’ll have to walk. For that reason, being able to find motivation internally is crucial. Motivation is what will help you stick to your efforts and resist the temptation to give up when things get ugly.

Discover what motivates and inspires you. It’s what will push you to achieve your goals and make you a better person and an achiever.

8.          Reliability

The increased independence college grants a student is often undercut by that student’s yielding to bad habits of procrastination and unreliability. Students naturally prefer to engage with more fun free time than educational activities, but if they do so to excess, their academic performance suffers. Avoiding procrastination and successfully committing to your duties is a central skill for college success.

9.         Concentration and Study Environment

College is full of distractions, and that’s why you need to know how to concentrate and shut off any diversions. A quiet, isolated study environment that also inspires learning will help you stay focused on your academic work. There’s no better time to practice this skill than in high school, which is already a very noisy and distracting place!

10.        Completing Assignments

In college there will be no one to remind you of your responsibilities, and as an adult you will be expected to meet deadlines for all your coursework. Get into the habit of committing to your tasks and do so ahead of schedule. You never know what might come up, so it’s better have extra time on your hands than scrambling to compensate for unexpected events that take up the time you’d planned on using.

These ten skills will boost your performance during high school and prepare you for college life, and your professional life thereafter. Start mastering them one by one and you will be able to start and finish your college years full of confidence and enjoying your well-earned success.

About the Author: Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of Ultimate Vocabulary Software which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.

Learn how to succeed in college from the experts.  Order your copy of The Secrets of Top Students today!


SAT vs. ACT – Which One Should You Take?

Navigating the maze of requirements needed just to apply to college can be overwhelming and daunting. Between keeping your GPA up, writing the perfect college essay, acing the interview, and finding time for all your extracurricular activities, you barely have time to figure out and prepare for the standardized tests most colleges and universities require. Prospective college students are faced with two options: the ACT and the SAT. Standardized testing is painful enough once through—why take two unless it’s necessary? Especially when each test costs between $30 and $50—and most people take the test more than once. All you have to do is figure out which one is right for you.

This infographic by BenchPrep gives you a great overview of the major differences between the two standardized tests. If you’re applying to schools along the East or West coast, the SAT might be a better option. Does science comes naturally to you, but you struggle with writing under pressure? Better stick with the ACT. Regardless of which test you pick, make the most of each test by ensuring that you are mentally and physically prepared. Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before (no cramming!) and eat a protein packed breakfast to provide fuel for the marathon of a test. And relax—no matter how important the test seems, it is only one component of a complete picture that the college sees.
By Marcela De Vivo


No matter which test you take, The Secrets of Top Students can help you succeed in college.  Order your copy today!

Listing of High School & College Websites

So, I’ve been doing some marketing research for my upcoming book The Secrets of Top Students – formerly called The Valedictorian’s Guide – and I compiled a list of websites (and some print media) related to high school and college. This list is far from comprehensive, but I thought some people might find it useful. I categorized them as follows:

  1. College / General Education News & Advice
  2. College Admission Advice & Consultants
  3. Websites for Parents of High School/ College Students
  4. SAT Prep
  5. Scholarship/ Financial Aid Websites
  6. College Life Advice
  7. Websites for Online Education and Adults Going Back to School
  8. Miscellaneous
  9. Magazines & Newspapers for Students and Parents

Do you have a favorite education website not mentioned here?  Feel free to leave a reply below.

College / General Education News & Advice [college advice, news] [college advice, forums] [college advice, news] [college advice, news] [advice, rankings] [college news, advice] [advice for Chicago teens] [articles about education, learning] [education news] [news and classifies for college students] [news for college students] [college news] [college news] [Ivy League news] [from NBC News] [NYC school news] [college news] [articles for teachers, students] [academics discuss education]

College Admission Advice & Consultants
(Note: many of these sites also have blogs on education issues) [admissions, college advice] [college planning, SAT prep] [admissions advice, forums] [admissions advice, news] [advice for admissions, careers] [admissions advice] [college admissions blog] [admissions advice] [Allen Grove’s college apps site] [admissions advice] [college consulting] [admissions counseling website] [admissions counseling website] [admissions advice] [admissions advice] [admissions advice] [college coach] [college consultant] [college consultant] [college consultants] [admissions counseling] [admissions advice] [college planning] [school search/ consultants] [college consultants] [college consultant] [college consultants] [college consultants] [college consultant] [college consultant] [college consultant] [college consultants] [college consultants] [college consultants] [college consultants] [college consulting] [college consultant]

Websites for Parents of High School/ College Students [advice for parents] [advice for parents of teens] [help for visiting colleges] [advice for parents] [advice for parents] [ site for parents of teens] [national PTA]

SAT Prep [SAT prep] [SAT prep] [SAT prep] [SAT prep]

Scholarship/ Financial Aid Websites [scholarship help] [financial advice for college] [college scholarships and advice]

College Life Advice [college, life advice for women] [advice for choosing a major] [for students in need of internships] [advice for college women] [advice about colleges, college life] [lifestyle tips for college women] [college life blog] [college life] [college advice] [college, learning advice] [college advice] [college and tech advice] [college advice] [college advice]

Websites for Online Education and Adults Going Back to School [advice for online education] [advice for students returning to college] [advice for adults going back to school] [advice for online degrees]

Miscellaneous [a map with links to college newspapers] [academic advice] [website, blog for teachers] [site for teachers] [advice for first generation college students] [high school ed expert] [education admin/ expert] [site for high school students] [advocacy for education] [advice for educators] [education tools and apps]

Magazines & Newspapers for Students and Parents

Girl’s Life [magazine for teen girls,

Justine [magazine for teen girls,

Seventeen Magazine

Working Mother Magazine []

Your Teen Magazine []

Education Update [NYC newspaper and website,]

Manhattan Family [Newspaper and website, mostly for parents of younger kids but some stuff relating to teens,]

Give your child the gift of great grades.  Order a copy of The Secrets of Top Students today!