Dun… Dun… Dun…. (probably) the most dreaded moment of your high school career has arrived… Standardized testing. AH! Your teachers, parents and friends have been talking about it for years and it’s probably stressing you out. Unfortunately, there is no study guide that will help you get a perfect score and there is no secret formula to absolutely blowing the test out of the water. BUT there are a few things you CAN do to score higher on standardized testing.

Here is one secret that more people should know: The SATs and ACTs are becoming increasingly irrelevant to many college admissions processes. Yes, I said it: irrelevant. Many schools are now test optional, meaning that you do not have submit your tests scores. Even schools that do require an SAT or ACT score are recognizing that standardized test scores provide a less prominent role in admissions decisions than in pervious decades. So, deep breath fellow scholars, standardized testing is not a matter of life and death. However, for those applying to schools that take into account testing scores, here is some advice that can help you battle through this stressful process with grace:

1. Pick the test that caters to your skills

The SAT and the ACT are very different. Some students excel on the SAT but not so much on the ACT and vise versa. Take a practice test of each and analyze which test format better fits your learning style.

2. Take practice tests

This is not like your average midterm exam. You cannot simply review and memorize the material taught in the last few sections of the textbook. Instead, it will be helpful to become familiar with the test format. The time constraints for each section and the question carefully worded to require critical thinking, are pretty unique to standardized testing. Knowing what to expect is half the battle.

3. If possible, use test prep services

Educational centers like Princeton Review and Kaplan offer courses to help prepare students for the SATs or ACTs. These classes can review material that commonly appears on these tests. They also provide strategies on how to deduce the correct answer. If this option is financially viable, I highly suggest taking advantage of it. If not, don’t fret. There are books that you can rent or buy that cover the same material as these courses. There are online resources available, as well! See what services your school offers to help students prepare for these tests. Sometimes, they incorporate practice tests and tips into curriculum or host test review sessions after school hours.

4. Take care of yourself

At the end of the day, you can spend endless hours preparing for these tests, but it means nothing if you are not well rested. Getting enough sleep and eating a good meal before the exam is key to full brainpower and your ability to focus. Also, remember that it is not the end of the world. If you feel too stressed, you may sabotage your own ability to succeed. As always, remind yourself that this test score does not define you.

Well I have about one week before I move back into the dorm for my last year as a RA.  I cannot believe I have been in college for almost six years and a RA for five of them.  I guess you could say that I have been around the Res Ed block a time or two.  I have some advice for incoming freshman as they start their journey in college.


1. Remember what you are here for

I have lost count on how many freshmen I meet that loose track as why they are at college.  They get caught up with their friends, trying to be popular, partying, drugs, and laziness. College is not like high school.  You are responsible for yourself.  Your RA will not wake you up for class, make sure you study, or get your prescriptions when you’re sick (I had this happen to me this past year).

Take control of your education and be responsible with your choices.  What you do on a Friday/Saturday night may come to haunt you the next day, week, month or years later.  The choices you make now will affect you’re the rest of your life.

Now you are probably thinking wow Kailynn you are getting super deep or why should I listen to this girl? Well let me tell you.  What I am telling you comes from personal experience. I have seen alcohol and drugs cause student to fail at classes, be arrested (check out Connecticut Bail Bonds Group locations in Hartford County CT for bail requests) , drop or most likely fail out of school. I have seen the student who does not study or go to class and those students rarely make it to their sophomore year.

So please remember why you are at college.  Make smart choices.


2. Ask for help

I will tell you again college is not like high school.  Your classes will not be easier and you will have to study (gasp).  You may find out that you do not even know how to study since you never had to do it in high school.  Well then ask for help.  Talk to upper classmen, tutor, professors, or your RA.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I had to learn this the hard way and you do not want to learn it the hard way.  Do you want to be the person who failed an exam or the class because you did not ask for help?  When you look back and think I could have passed that class if I went to my professors’ office hour.  Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Well because it is.

Asking for help does not always end in the classroom. In the dorm your RA is placed on your floor to HELP YOU.  So if you are having roommate issues do not wait till you are ready to murder each other. Bring your RA in.  I have been contacted by roommates who have been having issues since September and now it’s March and they cannot stand it any longer.  And I am always confused as why didn’t you tell me sooner? I could have helped.

So please ask for help. Whether if it is in your classes or dorm.  Talk to a friend, parent, professor, RA or iRA.  They are there to help you succeed in college.


3. Do your laundry/Take a shower

I think this point is self explanatory.  Your RA does not want to have the “You smell” conversation with you and neither do you.  It is very awkward for everyone.  Trust me everyone will appreciate you smelling good (and no frebreze does not count as a doing your laundry or showering).


4. Experience college life

Sometimes college can be really stressful. So take a break and breathe.  Experience college life. Make new friends, meet new people, join clubs, become passionate about something.  This is a time to grow and find out the real you.  Build yourself to become the person you want to be.



5. Don’t stress

Stress and college student really go hand and hand. If it is an assignment due tomorrow and you have yet to start, or your roommate’s music is driving you crazy, maybe your parents are hounding you about that grade you got on your biology test but the class average was a 52% and your were just below that average.  Annnd breathe….stress is there but it how you deal with it that makes all the difference.

Talk to a friend, RA, professor, or stranger on the bus.  Take time for yourself is important. Whether it is working out, spending time with friends, playing video games, reading a non-textbook, or just hiding out in your room.

That one class you got a C or D is really won’t make a huge impact on your life as a whole.  I remember when my advisor told me the “D’s” are for degrees.  I pretty much hated my life in one class and that statement really put things into perspective.  I didn’t settle for a D but it made me think that in 5 or 10 years this class will not matter.  I am not saying that you should make this your life motto (remember my first point?) but try not stress over the little things in life and enjoy the ride.

So here are a few points of advice and I hope that you listen and really take to heart what I have just said.  If you have any questions, comments, or would like to add more advice points please do so.  I would love to hear from you.  Oh and I wish all freshman and RAs a wonderful 2013-2014 school year an good luck!


-With much love

Kailynn, iRA


It is now almost a month into the Spring semester, for new roommates the honeymoon phase is nearing the end, and for continuing roommates you getting back into the swing of things.  By now, you should have a good understanding for each other’s preferred lifestyle. For some this may be working out perfectly, while for others it may be challenging to forge two different lives together.

You will need to be honest from the start.  Decide for yourself what is acceptable for your living environment, what is not acceptable for your living environment, and what are your nonnegotiable items.  Nonnegotiable are the deal breakers for you, these are things that you cannot live with.   After confirming how you feel about the issues you should schedule a time to talk with your roommate(s) and create house rules or a roommate agreement.  You should treat this meeting seriously and as you would any business deal.

Many universities have roommate agreement forms available through your RA to help walk you through the process. The roommate agreement allows you to talk about issues before they occur. The agreement should be taken seriously and done as soon as possible.  The agreement will help comfortably have tough conversations before an incident occurs. Even if your school does not have an official form, you can complete a roommate agreement on paper. Whatever method you use be sure to post it in the room to serve as a reminder to everyone.

Before you decide that things are just not working out and want to move, consider if you have done everything that you could do in the situation.  There are a few questions you may want to consider.  The first thing to consider- are my roommate rights being violated?  Each resident has rights in their room.  Each roommate has the right to be comfortable, respected, and to have privacy in your room.  If rights are not being violated, it is probably a rather simple situation where you will need to compromise and meet in the middle.  If rights are being violated, it is probably a more complex problem and you will need to discuss the issues with your RA during a roommate mediation.

Relationships are about compromise and realizing that someone does things differently than you may do things can be difficult to adjust to. Evaluate if your requests are reasonable. It is reasonable to ask your roommate(s) to discuss overnight guest prior to them staying, but it may not be reasonable to ask your roommate(s) to never have guests in the room.  It is reasonable to request that your roommate(s) not disturb you while are studying, but it may be unreasonable if you do not reciprocate.  You will need to compromise and meet in the middle and find a solution that will work for both of you.

The last thing to consider- did I do everything I could? After you have tried everything—an agreement, setting expectations, compromising, discussing differences, and an RA mediation, you may determine the living situation may not be the best and a move may be the best solution.  It is possible that things just will not work and nothing you do or say will help.  It is okay to move on after you have done all you can in the situation. Your RA can assist you in locating a new room. You want to make the moving out process and smooth as possible. You never want to burn bridges, it is a small world and you never know when you may come across that person or someone that knows that person in the future.

In the end, it may not work out and that is okay.  It is important to remember to give it a chance.  It may be awkward and require more attention at first, but as long as you develop and display a mutual respect for each other, you should be able to make it work for the short time you will be living together.  When your relationship hits a little turbulence, do not run away, stick it out and do everything on your end to make it work.

It is currently February. You have been back to school for about a month and you have probably already taken your first exam. If you are like me you are ready for a break, spring break. Spring break is known as a March/April mid-semester break. This maybe a time for you to catch up on homework, projects, and prepare for finals (Ha-I wish I could do this but it never happens). Common spring break destinations are: Mexico, Florida, Myrtle Beach, Cancun, Bahamas, and pretty much any place you can put your feet in the sand with a fancy drink in your hand.

These are great ideas but there are alternatives to spring break then a beach. Here are a few of my suggestions:
• Volunteer-You can volunteer at your college campus or at home. Look into Habitat for Humanity, and the United Way for local opportunities. You could also travel internationally for service opportunities. A big program at my university is Amazide which offers students a chance to travel aproad, earn course credit, and volunteer. They have service opportunities during spring break, summer, semester, or year long. Check out Amazide.org if you are interested or contact your universities Study Abroad office or Community Service Organization.
• Course Credit- You could also consider taking a class and earning some course credit towards graduation. The course credit you could earn will not be at your university but in Italy, Paris, Europe, etc. Check out your universities Study Abroad Office and look at your particular department and see if they are offering any trips. This is also a great alternative to not only spring break but studying abroad for a whole semester. A spring break trip would allow you to get your feet wet and see if a semester aboard would be your thing. The cost will also be a lot cheaper than a semester abroad and you may even be able to get financial aid to help cover the costs!
• Visit a Friend-For something that won’t hurt your budget visit a friend. You have met people from all over the country. Consider going home with them for a week or asking a friend to come home with you. You can show each other your hometown and fun stuff to do in your area.

These are just a few ideas. Most likely your university offers spring break alternatives. Read your schools newspaper, talk to professors, and study abroad office for spring break alternatives. Have fun!

Like no one ever was? Admit it, you just sang along the Pokemon theme song–original. That’s how we all felt on our campus this semester as we recruited new applicants for the Resident Assistant job, see picture below.

Here is a general list of why you should apply for a RA/CA job. Other jobs in Residence Life offer the same benefits.

1. $290 every two weeks….or free housing
2. Free meal plan….or some money towards meals.
3. Single room at a double room rate.
4. When you become an RA you acquire great professional experience. By having an important position with in Residence Life it is up to you to make important decisions.
5. When it comes to your own personal resume, by being a RA it shows your future employers that you have the ability to work hard and responsibly.
6. You have leadership opportunities in which you will need to stand out and make certain decisions beneficial to your entire community
7. Potential to learn life-long skills such as time-management, self-discipline, etc., by being involved in the Ramapo College of NJ campus–or your own campus.
8. By being an RA, it is self-rewarding to take an important role and standing out on the Ramapo College of NJ campus–or your own campus
9. When you are an RA you are in charge of creating your own event. You would be in charge of everything and create something that YOU want to do.
10. You also build such awesome friendships with your residents, co-workers, and administration.

If you are interested, contact your own RA/CA for more information or email us. We are here to help you. =)