Student’s Blog


Getting a Head Start on Summer Internships

Happy New Year to myKlovr users and loyal blog readers! It may still be chilly outside, but we’re already thinking about helping you plan for summer. In this article, we’re taking a look at how to get a head start on summer internships.

Why do a summer internship in high school? Well, there are plenty of advantages. You learn new skills, explore a potential career, and make connections that might lead to a college recommendation letter. Don’t forget that an internship makes you a more competitive college applicant, as well. And with many colleges no longer requiring standardized test scores, smart, motivated applicants need every advantage to stand out from the competition.

Where Do I Start?

No matter if you’re a high school freshman, sophomore, or junior, you’re going to start at the same place – considering your interests. Now, I’m not asking you to select a career path, but take some time to reflect on what topics or subjects interest you. Also, take a look at your myKlovr account to review your self-assessment results. We designed these assessments to give you a personalized action plan. Fortunately, you can also use the results to plan for summer internships.

There Are So Many Options!

Yes, the internet is awash with internship opportunities, but don’t worry:

  • They’re not all opportunities that interest you.
  • Many have in-person requirements in places you can’t travel/relocate to over the summer.

Those two facts narrow down your options significantly. Now, it’s time to market yourself. Here’s what you need:

A Resume 

There might not be a lot to put on your resume, but don’t worry. The point is to frame what you have accomplished in high school in a professional, easy-to-read, one-page statement. Start by brainstorming your accomplishments. Your myKlovr digital portfolio is a great way to do this, especially if you’ve consistently added academic and extracurricular work examples.

A Positive Social Media Presence

If you’re using social media, the odds are that companies or organizations you apply to will find your posts and pictures. Before doing anything else, make sure what you already posted is appropriate.

Second, consider creating a LinkedIn account. Besides being a place to post your virtual resume, employers nationwide use LinkedIn to attract high school interns. Some LinkedIn tips to get you started:

  • Use a flattering headshot.
  • Follow employers that interest you.
  • Make a post of two that details what kind of internship you’re looking for.
    • Tag relevant companies.
  • Link to any academic or extracurricular accomplishments (if applicable).
  • If an employer you might want to intern with posts regularly, it never hurts to ask what they are looking for in an applicant. Some will be very candid, saving you time and energy during your search.

By developing a resume and social media presence this month, you’ll be well ahead of other internship applicants.

Final Thoughts

Getting the ball rolling on an internship search takes time and effort, but doing so sets you up for success. Use the experience as a ‘practice run’ for senior-year college admissions. And no matter what internship you land, make the most of the opportunity by trying your best and engaging with coworkers.

And last, but certainly not least, when you finish your internship, don’t forget to put work examples into your myKlovr digital portfolio.

Curating a Social Media Presence as a College Applicant

We at myKlovr put a lot of thought into helping high school students like you plan for the future. Users can custom-tailor their action plan and recommendations to meet their college or career goals. Our service provides students and families with the latest financial aid advice and resources. And users can begin filling up their digital portfolio as soon as 9th grade with their best academic and extracurricular achievements.

Yes, myKlovr offers a lot of tools to help high school students plan for the future and achieve their potential. But one thing we can’t control is what users do in their free time. One of those things is using social media. To say the least, social media has put a few high school seniors, such as Kyle Kashuv, into some seriously hot water.

myKlovr doesn’t want you to fall into a similar trap. But instead of focusing on what not to do, we want to emphasize how you can create a positive social media presence. We’ll even explore how your myKlovr membership can help you along the way.

What Is a Positive Social Media Presence?

Well, it’s obviously not doing what Kyle Kashuv did. More importantly, it’s presenting an honest (but slightly curated view) of who you are to the outside world. Doing so is no different than an adult trying to find a job on LinkedIn. Put up a nice picture, emphasize your strengths, make positive comments to others…that sort of thing.

However, comparisons go only so far. Teenagers aren’t newly minted college graduates networking with peers or experienced professionals wanting a career boost. You’re trying to get into college. That said, here are some tips on how you can make yourself look good while still emphasizing this transformative part of your life.

You’re Curious

It doesn’t matter whether you have an academic or career path planned out at this stage in your life. What matters is that you’re curious. You want to explore new things and tackle new challenges. College admissions counselors love that stuff. It means you have an intellectual spark that’ll contribute to campus culture.

Consider discussing the following in one or more social media posts:

  • Learning a new skill (e.g., cooking, playing an instrument)
  • Taking learning into your own hands (e.g., reading a book about something that interested you in class)
  • Discussing the books you read or posting an interesting article you found online

You’re Responsible (Enough)

Teenagers aren’t 100% responsible 100% of the time. No college admissions counselor expects that. However, those checking your social media want to know you’re not openly proud of any teenage discretions. That’s the key. So, whatever irresponsible things you do in high school (please keep them to a minimum), keep quiet about them online.

Here are some ways you can make yourself a responsible (even respectable) college applicant through social media.

  • If you volunteer, post a pic of what you or your team achieved. (Avoid selfies, if possible.)
  • Post a good grade with a caption about how you improved from a previous exam/test. (This should be a true story, obviously.) 

You’re Using Social Media for Good

Social media isn’t just a place to keep a record of your life and message people. It can be a tool to make some positive change in the world. Now, some of the following suggestions might be a little big to take on for upperclassmen, especially if you already have a lot on your plate. But if you’re a 9th or 10th grader, think about how/if you could do one of these (or a similar) projects before you graduate.

  • Start (or amplify) a GoFundMe for an important cause.
  • Around the holidays, create a program to raise money for families in need whose children attend your school.
    • This doesn’t have to be just money. You can encourage peers to drop off supplies.
  • Network with peers for any good cause.

Is Any of This Going to Make a Difference?

College admissions counselors are busy people who might not have the time to scrutinize social media. But let’s say the admissions committee is having a hard time deciding among you and a few other very competitive applicants. Them checking what you’re posting online might make some or all the difference in the world. So, it’s a small chance, but a very real one.

How myKlovr Helps

Don’t know where to start? Well, lucky for you, as you have a myKlovr digital portfolio. If you’ve been using it, you have a few examples you can brag about online. Ace a test? Throw that up online. Create a beautiful piece of art? Post it. Get a 5 on an AP exam? Well, I’m sure you get the point by now. Also, consider your personalized career or college goals. Discussing these goals and how you’re working toward them shows you’re a forward-thinking, responsible young adult.

Final Thoughts

Social media isn’t good or bad by itself. However, how you use it says as much about yourself as your GPA, AP test scores, or college admissions essays. Keep that fact in mind throughout your time in high school. Your college admission experience will be a lot smoother if you do.

Planning for Junior and Senior Year

This month, myKlovr is focusing on what high school freshmen and sophomores can do to ensure that they make the most of their junior and senior years. Of course, you need to think about extracurricular activities, college tours, recommendation letters, and standardized tests. That’s a lot on your plate. However, these (very important things) come secondary to the classes you take in your final two years of high school.

Why are the specific classes important? Well, let’s consider a college admissions counselor’s point of view. Standardized tests are becoming less important in their formula, meaning they have to use other ‘hard statistics’ when deciding whether your application deserves closer attention. The classes you take junior and senior year are key to making sure you remain competitive.

So, What Are the Best Classes?

You can’t go wrong with Advanced Placement (AP) classes. While every school, district, and state use different curriculum, AP courses use a standardized curriculum. This means that admissions counselors need not scratch their heads when seeing a good or poor grade on an applicant’s transcript. However, please note that your AP exam scores are equally (and perhaps more) important. Comparing an AP grade to an exam score says a lot about the quality of education you received. This information helps admissions counselors determine your college readiness.

Besides APs?

Here’s where things get complicated and personal to you as a high school student and future college degree-seeker. You see, there are a lot of variables at work, so let’s go through them one by one.

Your Interests and Goals 

College may offer more academic flexibility than high school, but you can still explore your interests through electives. Even as a junior/senior, it’s okay to try something new. You may find a passion for something unexpected or realize that what you liked in the past is no longer your cup of tea.

When it comes to core academic classes, play to your strengths. If APs aren’t available, take honors classes in your favorite subjects. Don’t be shy about challenging yourself, either. If you don’t care for math but make As in standard-level classes, consider honors next year. College admissions counselors respect applicants who challenge themselves, even if a solid A should turn into a B.

Your High School’s Class Offerings

Your high school may have a ton of classes to choose from or just a handful of options. If you’re attending a small high school where everyone follows the same curriculum, you might want to…

Consider Dual-Enrollment

Are you a motivated high school junior/senior who doesn’t find some classes challenging? Want to get a head start on college? If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, it’s time to consider dual-enrollment at a local community college.

Now, don’t let the word ‘college’ frighten you. The dual-enrollment process is a lot easier than traditional college admissions. Even so, you’ll need your high school transcripts and a letter from your principal or school district. After you have those two things in hand, the process shouldn’t be too complicated beyond creating an online account with your new school and possibly taking a placement test.

Before signing up for your first course, you’ll meet with a dual-enrollment counselor to discuss your options. You’ll take only one course, possibly at night, during the weekend, or online. You’ll need motivation, so pick something you’re interested in or make good grades consistently.

Besides awarding college credit, dual-enrollment has other advantages. Let’s say you live in an area with little to no summer internship opportunities. Taking 1-2 courses over the summer will tell the colleges you apply to that you are a dedicated student ready to hit the ground running once on campus.

Don’t Forget About Study Halls

Do your junior and senior years look packed? Feel a bit nervous about it? If so, it might be worth replacing an elective with a study hall. That way, you have a dedicated time each day during school to get a head start on homework, exam prep, and writing college essays. If you really make the most of it, you’ll have more time after school to tackle your myKlovr personalized action plan.

Also, don’t forget to consult your myKlovr interest inventories to determine what classes you should take junior/senior year.

Final Thoughts

There are many things to consider when planning your junior and senior year course loads. Please keep in mind that nothing is set in stone. Your education preferences and goals may change. Your high school may offer more or fewer classes in the next two years, as well. Take everything one step at a time and reach out to adults in your myKlovr support network for advice.

How myKlovr Helps Underserved Students Engage With College Planning

A recent survey has unveiled some troubling statistics regarding underserved students’ perceptions of education after high school. Although over 80% of these learners feel pressure to attend college, nearly half consider higher education unnecessary. Others report that supporting themselves financially right out of high school is their number one priority.

As a counselor, you know that some underserved students want nothing more than to escape toxic social and family environments the moment they graduate. For them, entering the workforce provides a means of escape. However, the financial and emotional stability they seek requires more than a high school diploma.

In this article, we’ll briefly look at the current trends affecting underserved students before diving into how myKlovr can help these learners bridge the gap between high school and some form of continuing education.

Serving the Underserved

We at myKlovr don’t have to tell you that offering even the best remedies to underserved high school students isn’t enough. These young people’s life experiences have turned them off from higher education and left them with a feeling of resignation. Other feelings of powerless and resentment only worsen their future prospects. What they’re lacking can be summed up in a single word:


Yes, underserved high school students lack agency, and not just because of their status as minors. Adults like you telling them what to do (e.g., “You must attend a good college to get ahead.”) their entire lives have turned them off from even the best future-planning advice.

So, let’s put agency back into their hands.

How myKlovr Encourages Agency

We built with myKlovr with students’ agency mind. Users’ responses to academic and personal surveys let us get to know their interests, needs, and areas of improvement. We use this information to recommend:

  • A manageable list of potential colleges/careers
  • An action plan to help them become a stronger college/job applicant
  • Financial aid resources that will help them avoid debt

Another way we help users build agency is letting them modify the academic goals/action plan we offer. Even a well-trained artificial intelligence won’t know your students perfectly, and their preferences will likely change throughout their four years in high school. With just a few keystrokes, your students can make changes and feel more confident in their futures.

How You Can Still Help Students in Need

Even students with agency will still need your help, perhaps a little, perhaps a lot. That’s where the myKlovr support network comes in.

The support network has three essential features. It lets you:

  • Review students’ goals and college/career recommendations.
  • See which students are having trouble reaching their goals.
  • Provide advice/encouragement students will see on their myKlovr account.

A support network includes trusted adults students select, such as their parents/guardians, teachers, and counselors. The support network also acts as an informal team that can use myKlovr to collaborate on solutions to users’ unique problems/issues/etc.

Final Thoughts

Underserved students face a set of unique challenges that no one service like myKlovr can solve fully. Helping learners in need still requires the human touch only you can provide. But with myKlovr, you can give your learners a new set of tools to build motivation and agency.

Please visit us at or contact us directly at for more information. We look forward to partnering with you, your students, and your school.

How to Approach the 2023-2024 Common App Essay

The Common App provides many advantages for high school seniors applying to multiple colleges and universities. However, with convenience comes risk, mainly with the essay section. A poorly written essay goes out to every school, lowering applicants’ chances of college admissions success.

We at myKlovr want to make sure you have the tools you need to impress college admissions counselors. That’s why in this article, we’re breaking down the seven 2023-2024 Common App essay prompts with essential tips that will make your essay the best it can be.

Disclaimer: This advice does not contain every way a college applicant can write a compelling and persuasive Common App essay. Please brainstorm ideas and consult your English teacher for further advice.

1) Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The first four words that stick out are ‘background,’ ‘identity,’ ‘interest,’ and ‘talent,’ giving you some freedom to select a topic. The phrase ‘incomplete without it,’ implies that you possess a passion for your subject and will reflect that in your essay, a narrative ‘story.’

Essential Tips:

  • Your essay should be a chronological narrative detailing how you became interested in a topic, how your passion grew, and what you did with that passion.
  • A narrative does not try to persuade.
    • It’s okay if readers don’t care about your passion. You’re not trying to convince them of anything.
  • Once you select a background/identity/interest/talent to write about, do not go off-topic.
    • Readers will expect to learn about just ONE thing.
  • Wrap up the essay by detailing how you plan to continue developing your background/identity/interest/talent in college.

2) The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Just like before, you have choices: challenge/setback/failure. Each has a different meaning:

  • Challenge: A challenge is a difficult event, but the word itself does not imply success or failure.
  • Setback: A setback implies a problem that stopped you in your tracks. However, it’s something you overcame.
  • Failure: Failure’s the easiest word on the list. You failed in what you set out to do.

The second part of the prompt is the challenge. Readers want to know about the obstacle’s effect on you as a person and how you changed as a result.

Essential Tips:

  • Avoid a negative tone.
    • Yes, your essay deals with an obstacle (not a positive experience), but the tone should remain positive.
  • Don’t assign blame.
    • If someone was the reason for your challenge/setback/failure, it’s best to think of another obstacle or attempt a different Common App prompt. You don’t want to imply that you still hold a grudge or consider yourself a victim.
  • Focus on what you learned.
    • For this essay, it’s not the story of the event that’s important but the way you grew as a person because of it. For this reason, try to limit your discussion of the event to 1-2 introductory paragraphs.

3) Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Here’s another two-part essay! And like other options, it asks you to describe an event and reflect on how you grew as a person.

Essential Tips:

  • Don’t be controversial.
    • Although adolescence is a time when people evaluate what they once thought were their foundational beliefs (e.g., religion, sexuality, etc.), these topics are best avoided in an essay. You don’t want to offend your readers.
  • A changed mindset equals changed actions.
    • Your changed mindset should have prompted you to take new actions in your day-to-day life. How did you become a better person?

4) Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

The key phrase for this essay prompt is ‘in a surprising way.’ Readers will want to be entertained and informed.

Essential Tips:

  • Use standard story structure.
    • Readers will want to know about your life before/during/after the surprising event. Consider the event as your story’s climax.
  • It’s okay not to be funny.
    • You’d think that ‘surprising way’ would denote humor. That’s not always the case. Any kind of emotion can prompt a change of heart.

5) Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Like with other prompts, the first thing you do is make a choice:

  • Accomplishment: A positive thing you did.
  • Event: A positive, neutral, or negative thing that you did or experienced.
  • Realization: A change of thinking.

Once you have something in mind, consider whether it led to personal growth AND how you view other people.

Essential Tips:

  • Stay positive.
    • Although your event may be negative in nature, your essay needs a happy ending.
  • Be specific.
    • The prompt’s phrase ‘other people’ can be just one person. In fact, writing about how the accomplishment/event/realization affected your relationship with just one person encourages a stronger bond with your reader.

6) Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Unlike previous prompts, topics, ideas, and concepts are pretty much the same thing. No need to break them down with bullet points.

Essential Tips:

  • Get nerdy.
    • ‘Passion’ is the key word for succeeding with this essay prompt. In your first draft, jot down every reason this topic/idea/concept enthralls you.
  • Be conversational.
    • Like some other essay prompts, it’s okay to think of your essay as a one-sided conversation. No need to be academic or formal.
  • Branch out.
    • The essay’s second part asks you to describe how your passion influenced you to learn more. Possibilities include learning a new language or picking up a new instrument. Maybe you read a ton of books on a subject before trying to write one of your own.

7) Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

‘Any topic of your choice’ is a double-edged sword if there ever was one. To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend this prompt to someone who doesn’t enjoy writing in their free time. However, let’s explore some…

Essential Tips:

  • Be careful.
    • There’s a lot of freedom here, but think of your audience – busy college admissions advisors who want to know what you can contribute to their school.
  • Consider using a work sample.
    • The phrase ‘already written’ gives you the chance to include an academic paper, one that does not go over any word count limit. Like with any piece of writing, have another person read it and provide feedback.
  • Avoid controversy.
    • Seems obvious, but worth repeating. Avoid any topics that might offend your readers.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to unpack concerning the 2023-2024 Common App essay options. My advice – play around with a few of the prompts. Jot down ideas and see which one allows you to express yourself and make a positive impression. Over the summer, write a few drafts you can hone leading into this fall’s college admissions season.

Good luck!

Back to School: Fall 2021 Edition

Like educators throughout the nation, we are myKlovr are disheartened that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact K-12 education. We also know that uncertainly around returning to school this fall is doing no favors for college-bound high school students.

To meet this challenge, myKlovr is providing a specialized back-to-school blog post aimed at high school upperclassmen navigating the college admissions process. Over the following paragraphs, we’ll look at what you can do in the final days of summer break to make the transition back to school (and getting ready for college) as smooth as possible.

For Juniors

Okay, rising juniors, time to live up to your status as upperclassmen. Here’s what you can do to get the year off on the right foot and prepare for college admissions success.

Grow Your myKlovr Network 

If you haven’t done so already, invite your new teachers to join your myKlovr support network. You don’t have to invite them all, but perhaps just those instructing your favorite subjects. After all, if you excel in their class, you’ll likely go back to them for a recommendation letter next year.

Research ACT/SAT Test Dates

Fall 2021 isn’t too early to take the ACT or SAT for the first time. And since it’s early, you have the option to take the test without preparing first. Consider this test your ‘trial run,’ providing you with a baseline score you can improve through test prep.

Review Your myKlovr Success Plan

Your personalized myKlovr success plan isn’t set in stone. You can make changes, but before doing so, please consult trusted adults in your support network. After all, you’ll be working toward these goals over the next two years.

For Seniors

Double Check Deadlines

Use myKlovr to double-check admissions deadlines for colleges on your shortlist. Although very unlikely, dates may have changed over summer break.

Schedule Retests 

If you need to retake the ACT or SAT, the time to sign up is now. Make sure that score reports will arrive at schools you apply to before any application deadlines pass, as well.

Start Thinking About Recommendation Letters

You’ll be asking for college recommendation letters in a few weeks. Take this time to do two things. First, consider which of your previous teachers would best represent you to an admission counselor. Second, create a resume highlighting your accomplishments throughout high school. It will help jog your teachers’ memories, allowing them to write the best letter possible.

All Around Good Advice

No matter which grade you’re entering this year, here’s a little advice for all high school students preparing for the fall semester.

Keep Your Peers, Teachers, and Self Safe

There’s a lot of little things we can do this fall to reduce COVID-19 transmission in schools. Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated are the most important. But keep an eye on how you feel. Needless to say, anyone feeling under the weather shouldn’t be in a school building right now. Don’t ‘power through’ it because you’re worried about falling behind. Staying home keeps everyone safe.

Check Your myKlovr Account Regularly

Getting the most out of myKlovr means logging on a regular basis. Doing so ensures you remain in contact with the people in your support networks, keep up to date with your personalized goals, and review the latest changes concerning colleges on your application shortlist.

Final Thoughts

Fall 2021 will bring new and familiar challenges to rising upperclassmen. The ones we’ve discussed today are just some that you might encounter over the next few weeks. If the unexpected should happen, be sure to reach out to your myKlovr network for advice.

Introducing Campus Pride to the myKlovr Community

MyKlovr developed the world’s first virtual college admissions counseling app for high school students planning to further their education. However, even our service does not cater to all applicants’ unique backgrounds and needs. For that reason, we’re always on the lookout for organizations that share our mission.

This month, myKlovr is happy to introduce Campus Pride to our users and blog readers. The organization strives to make colleges safer for LGBTQ students with outreach efforts on numerous college campuses. A significant part of Campus Pride’s mission involves helping LGBTQ youth and nontraditional students pick the right school. In the following months, myKlovr plans to give away our service to select Campus Pride members.

To help myKlovr users learn more about Campus Pride, I interviewed founder Shane Windmeyer about the organization’s history and mission.

Note: The author modified responses for clarity and concision.

Thomas Broderick: Would you mind introducing yourself and describe how you become involved with Campus Pride?

Shane Windmeyer: I founded Campus Pride in September 2001 and currently serve as the executive director. The organization came out of a lack of support in my undergraduate experience for LGBTQ young people and originally started as an online clearinghouse of resources. At the time and still today, there is a lack of resources for LGBTQ young people on the majority of college campuses – resources to help foster positive change and support leadership development among LGBTQ students.

The mission of Campus Pride is to build future leaders and create safer, more inclusive communities.  Currently, we work with 1,400+ campuses across the country. The organization has developed a number of signature programs and services, including Camp Pride, Campus Pride Index, Stop the Hate Bias & Hate Crime Prevention training, Safe Space, and others.

TB: In your own words, what is Campus Pride, and how does it help youth and their families?

SW: Campus Pride is a network of students, faculty, and staff at colleges across the country working to create safer more inclusive communities. The organization provides invaluable resources that offer leadership development and social justice skills. The organization has grown over the last 20 years from being an online website full of resources and information to a full-fledged nonprofit advocating and leading the way for LGBTQ youth within higher education.

Families can find LGBTQ-friendly campuses, attend a college fair, and access resources for their LGBTQ young person to help get into college, as well as better understand the challenges to LGBT youth on campus today. At its core, however, Campus Pride is a family.  The organization has served as a family for many young people who have participated in our programs like Camp Pride.

LGBTQ young people require support beyond leadership development and safety. Campus Pride invests in LGBTQ youth in meaningful ways to improve self-esteem and emotional support. These young people need a “chosen family” that can support them holistically. Campus Pride is an enduring, lasting relationship with students from across two decades who still keep in touch and rely on each other.

TB: Looking up my alma mater, I was impressed by the in-depth information. How does Campus Pride gather so much data about a school?

SW: The Campus Pride Index Is the only national benchmarking assessment that looks in a comprehensive manner at LGBTQ inclusive policies, programs, and practices across the country. Since 2007, the Campus Pride Index has pioneered LGBTQ-friendly rankings for families to find LGBTQ-friendly campuses and providing a benchmarking tool for campuses to improve annually. The 80+ item assessment tool is taken by each campus with a main user that works with LGBTQ young people and is informed by several key stakeholders. It’s not a static measurement of LGBTQ inclusion in that every year a campus is asked to come back and update their information to see where they improve. Over 80% of the 430+ campuses that currently participate come back each year and improve in at least one area.

The assessment questions deal specifically with LGBTQ policy, program, and practice that are based on campus climate research and national LGBTQ studies for inclusion.  The tool is informed and operated by LGBTQ researchers.  It has been vetted and tested and has produced nearly 15 years of valuable data that is not found collectively anywhere else.  Long before it was trendy to recruit LGBTQ young people, myself and the Campus Pride Index were pioneering the idea that LGBTQ youth matter.  That LGBTQ youth exist intersectionally, and we must look at recruitment and retention of LGBTQ youth and make an institutional commitment to improve policy, program, and practice.

In return, this hopefully will improve the perception LGBTQ young people have of their campus community and their ability to achieve academically and successfully graduate. Nobody was talking about that in the early 2000s other than Campus Pride and my book THE ADVOCATE COLLEGE GUIDE. With the release of our BEST OF THE BEST list based on data from the Campus Pride Index, we continue to lead the way and create game-changing and pioneering resources.

TB: But my other alma mater was missing! Are there schools that do not provide information to Campus Pride, or has your organization just not had enough time to grow your database?

SW: A campus DOES have to want to participate and come out as LGBTQ-friendly. We want campuses to come out and find value in this data and want to improve their community for the safety of LGBTQ youth. Our hope is that every campus would want to know what they’re doing for LGBTQ young people and where they can be better. But the fact of the matter is that some campuses do not want us to know, as to not be held responsible for LGBTQ support, institutional commitment, and safety.

We even provide fee waivers for campuses that may not be able to pay the low annual membership dues to take the assessment.  It’s hard for me to think some campuses may not know about the Campus Pride Index, but maybe for some, that is still true. We do our best to promote and share annually for nearly 15 years now. And I do believe for some campuses who may wish to participate, they may not be organized or have leadership around LGBTQ issues yet, too.

TB: I noticed that the ‘Worst List’ has a ‘Report It’ button for each school. What does Campus Pride do with these tips?

SW: These campuses are those that openly discriminate against LGBTQ young people and have a demonstrated track record of doing so within the last seven years.  In addition, many have applied or received a Title IX religious exemption via the government that allows them to discriminate against an LGBTQ young person due to “religious beliefs.”

Every campus has a listing along with the links/documents that show why they are on the list. These campuses are unsafe for LGBTQ young people, and often you would never know the negative learning environment that is created because the campuses do not talk about it. We have the REPORT IT function for a variety of reasons. First, we offer support to students that need help if they wish to reach out to us. Second, we use it to document and potentially add new campuses to the list every year based on what the campus is doing or not doing. Lastly, we hope and look forward to hearing about improvement on these campuses where we can remove them from the list – but so far, that has not happened in the last five years. We are currently actively working with a handful of colleges on the list to improve for the future, so we don’t ever give up.

TB: Besides researching the rankings, where would you suggest first-time visitors start with Campus Pride’s numerous resources?

SW: It really depends on what they’re looking for. We have created Ultimate Queer College Guide – a landing page for people interested in going to college. It provides a detailed resource listing all on one page that would help someone who is looking at attending an LGBTQ-friendly college and what they need along their journey.

If you’re a student leader and you’re looking for help in your role on campus, I would go to the resource tab at the top of the page, and we have several topics that might help you. Also, as the youngest LGBTQ generation uses social media, we highlight many of our resources and what’s relevant or current through our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook channels.

Final Thoughts

Prospective college students part of the LGBTQ community and their families should check out Campus Pride as soon as possible. The resource’s in-depth information about hundreds of colleges and universities makes it an invaluable tool for selecting a great school.

Laying the Groundwork for a Stellar Recommendation Letter

On a typical school day, the average high school teacher sees 150+ students. That’s a lot of names and faces to remember, especially 1-2 years later when a former student comes asking for a college recommendation letter.

Most teachers are happy to write a letter for students who ask nicely. However, with little to no memory of the student, they must rely on recommendation letter templates. Some teachers ask students to provide a mini-resume to cherry-pick which accomplishments or niceties they want to include in their letter.

Although teachers may have their heart in the right place, these canned responses aren’t the best when it comes to impressing college admissions counselors.

So, how do you get better recommendation letters from your teachers? It’s not about earning good grades and staying out of trouble. A stellar recommendation letter requires laying the groundwork well in advance. What does that mean, and how can myKlovr help you do it? Let’s find out.

Sophomore and Junior Years: Your Time to Make a Good Impression

Sophomore and junior years are crucial for plenty of reasons. You’re dedicating yourself to 1-2 extracurricular activities, and the grades you earn will have the biggest impact on what college admissions counselors think of your academic potential.

It’s also when you should be making a positive impression on your teachers, especially those teaching the subjects you may want to major in in college. Let’s break down some ways you can do this:

Ask for Help

Just because you enjoy a subject doesn’t mean you always earn the best grades. Some subjects are interesting but difficult to master. When you hit a roadblock, ask for help. Doing so features multiple advantages for a future recommendation letter:

  • Asking for help shows you possess the initiative and desire to improve.
  • You interact with a teacher outside of class, making you not just a face in the crowd.
  • College admissions counselors love an underdog story.

Let’s not forget that when you ask for help, you earn better grades and improve your GPA.

Participate in Class

As a former teacher, I write from experience when I say that the students I remember best are those who made a positive contribution to the classroom culture and those who … did the opposite. There were plenty of students ‘in the middle’ who made okay to good grades but left no impression on me whatsoever.

There are many ways you can make a good impression on a teacher, ensuring that they remember you when it comes time to ask for a letter:

  • Contribute to class discussions.
    • Don’t raise your hand every time the teacher asks for volunteers. But if you have something unique to contribute, go for it.
  • Help your peers who are struggling with the material.
    • Your teacher is only one person and can’t help everyone who needs one-on-one assistance. They will be thankful if you tutor one of your peers.
  • Go above and beyond.
    • You don’t have to do a lot. For example, I recall students who came to me and asked if they could modify one of my assignments. Some of their ideas expressed genuine creative thinking and impressed me greatly.

Join a School Club

Typical high school teachers advise 1-2 after-school clubs. This responsibility allows them to interact with students outside of class. Rising sophomores should take note of which clubs their teachers advise and consider joining one. In a club, you can demonstrate:

  • Your leadership skills.
  • Your ability to work as part of a team.
  • Your creativity.
  • Your commitment, dedication, and passion.

Also, don’t forget that staying with the same extracurricular activity for at least two years will make your college applications shine.

Keep a Work Portfolio 

myKlovr users receive a benefit no high school student should be without – a digital work portfolio. A portfolio allows you to save your best essays, art projects, and other pieces you can show your teacher when you ask for a recommendation letter. Bonus points if the work includes the teacher’s original comments/feedback. Seeing these notes might jog their memory and result in a well-written and thoughtful letter.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of ways you can lay the groundwork for a stellar college recommendation letter. Consider the advice we’ve explored today and choose what works best for you. No matter what you decide, strive to make a positive and lasting impression on your teachers. What they remember about you may be the deciding factor on whether you attend your dream college.

Large, gray, neo-Gothic, granite college campus building, Georgetown Univ. campus.

College Accreditation: What You Need to Know

High school students and their families have a lot of questions about potential colleges. What majors does this school offer? What are the admission requirements? How can I be a competitive applicant? What about institutional financial aid?

The list goes on.

No matter your list of questions, I bet they all boil down to just one: Is this a good school?

Is this a good school? is a subjective question. Everyone will have a different opinion regarding a college’s academic offerings, campus, food, dorms, etc. But if you sweep away the opinions, and you’re left with one essential trait a school must have for it to be good:

The school must be accredited.

Schools without proper accreditation (there are plenty of them in the United States) may not offer students adequate learning outcomes. Also, some employers and graduate schools may not regard degrees from these schools as valid.

In this article, we’ll break down the three types of accreditation in order of importance and relevance to your college search.

Regional Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) sets academic standards reputable colleges and universities must follow. However, the ED cannot pass judgment on the nation’s approximately 5,300 colleges and universities by itself. To ensure that all college students receive a satisfactory education, ED charters seven regional accreditation agencies. Each agency carries out the same mission in a specific group of states or U.S. territories.

Before you look at majors, dorms, or meal plans, ensure that a school possesses accreditation from one of these agencies. That’s your #1 priority.

myKlovr takes the guesswork out of regional accreditation when recommending schools to users. Each of the colleges and universities we feature is regionally accredited.

National Accreditation

Schools with national accreditation differ from those with regional accreditation in many ways:

  • Typical schools do not hire full-time faculty.
  • There may not be a library or other student services.
  • They are for-profit institutions answering to investors.
  • Their students may not qualify for some financial aid programs.
  • They focus on technical and career education.
  • They award credit that may not transfer to a regionally accredited school.

These differences put nationally accredited schools in a bad light. Yes, there have been controversies regarding shady national accreditation agencies accrediting substandard schools.


Prospective online college students should attend a school possessing national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC ensures that online learners receive the same educational experience as their on-campus peers. And although DEAC is a national accreditation agency, it follows regional accreditation standards when making evaluations.

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation agencies specialize in one academic subject, such as nursing, engineering, business, or theology. Academic departments pursue programmatic accreditation to improve their brand and increase enrollment.

One thing to note about programmatic accreditation agencies is that many evaluate only graduate programs. An undergraduate program without programmatic accreditation may not indicate anything negative about its quality.

Final Thoughts

Accreditation is a complicated business. However, if all the colleges on your shortlist possess regional accreditation, you’re 99% good to go. The final 1% involves online learners checking DEAC accreditation status and graduate students researching programmatic accreditation.

Handling Admission Deferrals

Getting into your dream school is great!

Getting rejected stinks!

But what about a deferral?

You probably haven’t considered how you’d react if a college told you, “Well…maybe. We’ll get back to you in a month or so. Until then, enjoy being on the waitlist. Later!”

Okay, colleges don’t say that last part, and, to be honest, it’s no fun waiting to see if a spot will open up.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can handle admissions deferrals in a positive way that preserves your sanity and ensures that you finish your senior year strong.

Don’t Overanalyze It

First off, let’s make sure that a deferral doesn’t send you to a dark place. It would be far too easy to think, ‘Oh, if only I had been just a little bit better…earned one more good grade…studied more for that one AP Exam…et cetera ad infinitum.’

Take a deep breath. You’ll never know exactly why a school put you on the waitlist. Instead of the negative examples the previous paragraph highlights, maybe your dream school had a surplus of highly qualified candidates, you included. And maybe, just maybe, you are at the top of the waitlist, virtually guaranteeing an admission letter in May.

My best advice would be to allow that self-doubt to wash over you for no more than five minutes. It’ll happen no matter what, so get it out of the way early.

After that… 

Continue on Business as Usual

As you can’t change what will happen at this point, do your best to push the situation out of your mind. There’s still plenty to do between now and graduation day:

  • Final exams
  • AP/IB test
  • Making some good memories with friends
    • That’s important, too 🙂
  • Etc.

Focusing on what’s still on your plate will make time go faster. It really works.

A Bird in the Hand….

Now, I have my fingers crossed really tight that as you’re waiting to hear back, you’ll receive one or more acceptances from other schools. Hopefully, these letters will boost your spirits and make you feel better about yourself.

However, at this point, you have a dilemma. There’s at least one school that wants you, and one that hasn’t made up its mind. Do you go for the sure thing, or see what happens with the school that waitlisted you?

Before you decide, determine if you can wait it out. Maybe you’ll find out if you got off the waitlist before any other school’s deadline to commit. If so, waiting it out is no big deal. I recommend it.

But if deadlines make waiting it out impossible, it’s time to make a hard choice. If you have one or more ‘birds in the hand,’ do you let it go to wait on the one still hiding in the ‘bush’? In this case, I’d recommend choosing one of the schools that accepted you. Yes, it’ll be a bummer to let your dream school go, but you’ll be doing the right thing.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of uncertainty in these times, and I know that a deferral can make things even more stressful – stress you don’t need. So, if it happens to you, take a step back, set it aside, and push on.

Fingers crossed that only acceptances arrive in your mailbox this April.

AP Exams in May 2021: What You Need to Know

AP test-takers in May 2020 experienced difficulty navigating online testing. Many encountered IT issues affecting their testing experience and final score. These problems frustrated high school students and their families, as a good AP score equates to a stronger college application and the ability to earn a degree sooner than other undergraduates.

In this article, we’ll look at how the College Board is preparing for May 2021 by breaking down what they’ve changed in the last 12 months. We’ll also explore how myKlovr subscribers can use the service to earn the best score possible.

What Happened in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic made companies around the world reevaluate how they do business. The College Board was no exception, as the company had only weeks to figure out how to administer AP exams safely.

Their solution was online, at-home testing. Unfortunately, approximately 1% of test-takers experienced IT issues, including the inability to upload work or submit answers. Students worried if their submission would count or if the College Board would allow them to retest.  Other questions concerned whether the newly developed online exams put students with disabilities or those with slower internet speeds at a disadvantage.

The College Board has had a year to fix the bugs that plagued some students and frustrated parents in 2020. Let’s see what changed!

A Look at May 2021

The first big change involves exam dates. The College Board created three testing windows. Let’s break them down:

  • Window #1: May 3-17
    • At-school testing
  • Window #2: May 18-28
    • At-home and at-school testing
  • Window #3: June 1-11
    • At home and at-school testing

At-school testing will resemble what high school students experienced before COVID-19 (There will be masks and perhaps a few plastic dividers this time). Also, multiple opportunities to give the same exam will allow schools to reduce the number of test-takers in the room, promoting social distancing.

What will online testing look like this year? The College Board’s detailed guide breaks down the technology requirements that students must satisfy before exam days, such as a fully charged computer and stable internet access.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Students cannot return to unanswered questions.
  • There are now accommodations for students with disabilities.
  • The digital testing app allows students to continue working on an exam if their computer momentarily loses its internet connection.

Other benefits in 2021 include digital practice tests launching in April.

The testing experience in 2021 also solves a problem that many students experienced in 2020 – uploading work. In 2021, no AP exam requires test-takers to upload images or other files. That information should come as a relief to high school students.

Getting Ready for Exam Day with myKlovr

In the weeks leading up to your AP exams, use myKlovr to set goals for exam-day success. Your goals may include:

  • Studying for a certain number of hours each week.
    • Always a good idea.
  • Receiving one-on-one assistance from your AP teacher.
    • Ask them to review one of your free-response answers.
  • Downloading the AP exam app and taking a digital practice test.
    • Remember, a lot of exam-day stress comes from the unknown. You need to feel comfortable with online testing if you want to do your best.
  • Checking the latest updates from the College Board.
    • Although it’s unlikely anything will change before exams begin in May, please stay on top of the latest news.

Also, don’t forget that a myKlovr subscription includes tons of Young woman studying with laptop in college libraryresources at no additional cost.

Final Thoughts

Spring 2021 is a time of hope for many reasons, including the changes to online and in-person AP exams. Please reach out to us if you have additional questions regarding how myKlovr can help you prepare for exam day and college admissions.

Grit and Success

Overhead view of two students studying on a bench indoors

Grit is a short word describing a tremendously valuable personality trait that educators and parents wish they could teach children and young adults.

What’s grit? It’s a lot of things:

It’s not giving up in the face of adversity.

It’s possessing strong moral values.

It’s having the courage to take on new challenges.

It’s the desire to do something well.

It’s putting passion into your work.

In other words, grit makes someone successful in a rapidly changing world, no matter their age, level of education, or profession.

So, that’s what grit is. But knowing what something is doesn’t mean you can do it. Not yet, anyway. In this article, we’ll look at ways you can build up the traits that define grit and prepare for a successful college application season and beyond.

Where Do I Start with Grit?

Well, there’s good news, and there’s not-so-good news.

The Not-So-Good News

The main characteristics that define grit involve picking yourself up after failing at something. Failing is an unpleasant experience, but one we’re all familiar with in one way or another. Maybe it’s struggling with personal relationships or performing poorly in school. Whatever it is, grit begins at or near the bottom.

The Good News

The good news is that when you encounter failure, you have a choice about how to react. Now, doing so is MUCH easier said than done. However, like any other skill, practice makes perfect.

Starting Small

Everyone has something they do that instills feelings of joy and frustration. Maybe it’s a video game, sport, hobby, or any other passion. The point is that you already have a starting place to begin incorporating more grit into your life.

The next time you do that activity, take a mental note of why you persisted despite negative outcomes or emotions. What is it that drives you to continue? Everyone’s answer will be unique, but whatever it is, use that information to push yourself a little bit harder next time. Your chances of failure or frustration may increase, but these experiences will allow you to practice the traits defining grit in a small and safe environment.

Applying Grit to School and Life

Okay, so you have some grit, at least when it comes to an activity you enjoy. That’s great news because you can now consider applying these positive traits to other parts of your life, namely education.

Now, if you already earn good grades, you may wonder how grit can help you. Remember that grit has a lot to do with failure and that as you start taking more advanced courses and applying to colleges, failure or frustration will occur more. And let’s not forget that many college freshmen, even those who earned top grades in high school, struggle to adapt to new academic and social expectations. Those with grit push forward and succeed.

A simple way you can apply grit to your education is by taking a proactive approach to roadblocks or problems you encounter in school. This approach starts with asking questions:

  • Am I responsible for this negative outcome?
    • If so, what did I do?
  • What result did I want to happen?
    • This question helps you set a future goal.
  • How can I turn my goal into reality?
    • Talk to a teacher/counselor.
    • Ask for tutoring.
    • Find study materials online.

These questions also apply to issues surrounding interpersonal relationships with teachers and peers. As a teacher, I saw firsthand the relationship between perceived social acceptance and academic performance.

Improving Your Grit with myKlovr

We at myKlovr developed the first virtual college counseling service to prepare students like you to succeed in the college admissions process and beyond. Our services can also help you become a student with grit and better your college and career choices. Here’s how:

  • Set goals.
    • MyKlovr allows users to set academic and personal goals. As you think about building your persistence, set 1-2 goals for the near future. If you cannot accomplish your goals, reflect on what happened and what you can do when giving yourself a second chance.
      • Remember, start small.
    • Connect with your myKlovr network.
      • We encourage all users to add trusted adults (e.g., parents, teachers, counselors) to their unique myKlovr network. Ask people in your network how you can improve your grit.
    • Take career assessments.
      • MyKlovr’s career assessments help users research potential career paths. Discovering one or more options gives you the chance to start setting goals and pushing yourself to achieve them.
        • Users who take career assessments use the results to research potential undergraduate majors and the colleges offering them.
        • Career assessments also reveal users’ personal strengths, such as action-taker, visionary, and mentor. This information helps them identify areas where they apply grit regularly, as well as explains why they struggle in others.

Final Thoughts

Like chess, it takes minutes to learn what grit is and years to master it. Yet if you set reasonable goals, reflect on failure, reach out to trusted adults, and use myKlovr’s ample resources, you’ll have a good start in applying grit in your education and personal life.

Good luck with grit. No matter your plans for the future, you’ll need it.

The Importance of Social Media in College Sports Recruiting

Social media has very quickly become a huge part of the recruiting process for student-athletes. If you’re a high school student, you most likely have a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest account, if not all of them. Because of this college coaches have become more and more active on these platforms as a way to research and get in touch with high school athletes. It is very important to realize that coaches use these accounts as their first impression. Trust me when I say, coaches have done their research on potential athletes’ way before they make the initial phone call or email.
Now more than ever, it is so important to make sure you are posting the right content on social media, because once it is out there all it takes is one screenshot and it is saved forever. You do not want a coach seeing something that is not deemed appropriate i.e., swearing, drinking, smoking, bragging, or anything that can be considered provocative. You want to use social media to your benefit, not to your detriment.
So, what do you post? When do you post the things that need to be posted? That is where we (A4A) come in. A4A teaches athletes what content to post after big games, tournaments, showcases, meets, matches, showings, or wins. We teach our athletes that it is alright to be confident, just don’t be cocky when posting. An athlete talking about how their hard work has paid off when they hit their goal is awesome. Thank your coaches for calling the plays or your number to enable you to have scored what you did that day is even better! A great approach for high school athletes is the J.J. Watt approach: “Read each tweet about 95 times before you send it. Look at every Instagram post about 95 times before you send it. A reputation takes years and years and years to build and it takes one press of a button to ruin it.”

Just remember to be smart and be careful!

Steve Britschgi

Community Colleges in the Time of COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to disrupt education at all levels. College students throughout the United States find themselves studying from home while paying the same tuition they would if they were learning on campus. This disparity has led many degree-seekers to believe that the high prices aren’t worth it. Granted, some schools are slashing tuition to retain students. Yet many would-be college degree-seekers are forgoing their post-secondary education entirely.

Rather than pay too much for online education or enter the workforce right out of high school, I want to use this article to propose a different solution – community college. For decades, community colleges have helped students who couldn’t afford a four-year school advance their education and career. And as it seems that COVID-19 will continue to affect higher education for another year, it might be time for all high school seniors to consider what their local community college can offer them.

Let’s explore community colleges and how students who enroll can continue using myKlovr to meet their academic and career goals.

Community College: Facts and Misconceptions

Community colleges award associate degrees to learners who need a degree for career advancement or to transfer to a four-year college. Like four-year schools, community college offers academic majors, extracurricular activities, financial aid, and career resources. Learners who use the latter in tandem with myKlovr’s career assessments gain valuable insight into their long-term goals.

One vital misconception that many high-achieving high school students have about community college revolves around their reputation. There is the belief that they lack the prestige of four-year schools, and attending one ‘taints’ you in the eyes of the big-name colleges and universities.

This. Isn’t. True.

To put it another way, community college is one of the most practical options that all graduating high school seniors have this year. Yes, even community college students are learning online because of COVID-19. But they aren’t spending a fortune doing it.

Before Enrolling

If you decide to attend a local community college, consider how the school you select will affect your long-term academic and career plans. Public and private four-year schools use different transfer credit policies, such as a GPA cutoff and a transfer credit limit. Contact each school directly to learn about their transfer student admissions process.

Don’t forget to research community colleges with the same critical eye as you have done with four-year schools. Remember the key questions:

  • What majors does this school offer?
  • What services can students access if they need tutoring or other academic resources?
  • Does the school offer institutional financial aid? If so, how much?
  • Does the school award college credit for good AP/IB scores?
  • Does the school award college credit for passing challenge exams?

While in School

Consider your year (or two) in community college as a continuation of your high school experience. You’re still preparing to attend your dream college, so don’t forget about fostering relationships with teachers, you will need 1-2 to write you a recommendation letter. Also, consider joining a club or student organization. The college may not have on-campus courses next fall due to COVID-19, but some extracurricular activities may exist in a virtual or in-person format. 

Integration with myKlovr

MyKlovr’s functionality can help you stay on top of your academic goals as you work to transfer or look for employment. Start with myKlovr’s career assessments to research career paths. You may discover that your ideal job (at least an entry-level position) requires only an associate degree.

You can also ask your community college teachers and advisors to join your support network. Don’t forget about myKlovr’s academic tutors, essay writing assistance, and internship opportunities. High school and community college students benefit from these included services equally.

Final Thoughts

A lot is still up in the air regarding in-person college education over the next 12 months. Your community college experience may involve online courses and a less personalized educational experience than you desire. However, by starting your post-secondary education at a community college, you save on tuition and can apply these savings toward the latter half of your undergraduate education, and perhaps an advanced degree.

Image of three young people excited about volunteering.

Creating a Volunteer Movement at Your High School

Happy back to school, myKlovr readers. For most of you, school is A LOT different this fall with the COVID-19 pandemic making a proper return to school impossible. As you’re getting used to distance learning, a process that I guarantee is just as difficult for your teachers as it is for you, I want to introduce something you can do to enrich your learning experience.

In this article, we’ll take a look at creating a volunteer movement in your high school. As you’ve seen with our articles about Volunteer Crowd and Best Buddies, there are many ways to volunteer online and in person and share recommendations with your peers and teachers.

Why Create a Volunteer Movement Now?

There are plenty of good reasons to create a volunteer movement, but let’s focus on a few that apply to the here and now.

  • You Have More Time on Your Hands: Although online learning can be just as rigorous as the in-person experience, you have more free time due to not commuting, and, sadly, the lack of traditional extracurricular activities. As a result, you can explore new opportunities to fill your free hours. Volunteering and encouraging others to do the same is an excellent way to spend your time.
  • It Looks Good on a College Application: Starting a volunteer movement, especially one that involves a large number of your peers, can make your college application shine in college admission counselor’s eyes.
  • People in Your Community Need Help: The COVID-19 pandemic has made vulnerable groups even more so, and hundreds if not thousands of people in your local community fall into this category.

How Do I Make a Volunteer Proposal?

Once you decide to create a volunteer movement at your school, you need a proposal that will both do some good for people in need and inspire your peers to help out. Here are some questions to get you going.

  • What are the most pressing needs in my community which volunteers could impact?
  • What skills do my peers and I have that would benefit organizations that need volunteers?
  • How much time per week can my peers and I realistically dedicate to volunteering?
  • How can I create a volunteer movement that will inspire not just people in my grade but all learners at my school?
  • What role do I want to play in this volunteer movement? Leader? Coordinator? Participant?

How Do I Get People to Sign Up?

Now that you have a proposal, you need to get your message to your peers. Fortunately, taking classes online gives you an excellent way to communicate with other students. Let’s look at a few ways you can raise awareness and interest in your volunteering proposal.

  • Discussion Board: Using a classroom discussion board (ask your teacher in advance to set one up for you), you can reach out to your peers or perhaps the entire school. As with any proposal, write at least two drafts and have an adult, preferably your teacher, review it for clarity and grammar.
  • Ask Teachers/Administrators to Signal-Boost Your Ideas: Send your proposal to your teachers/principal to see if they would promote your ideas to the school’s students and staff. They can also offer you valuable feedback to make your proposal more successful.
  • Leverage Volunteer Crowd and Best Buddies: As you know from myKlovr’s other articles, VolunteerCrowd and Best Buddies allow students to volunteer virtually, an excellent option as in-person volunteering is impossible for most students right now. You can discuss these services’ advantages in your discussion board post or another communication method.

How Do I Keep the Movement Going?

Once your volunteer movement starts gaining students’ interest, you have to sustain that interest if you want your movement to last more than a few months. Here are a few ideas to keep your fellow volunteers engaged.

  • New volunteer projects each month.
  • Recognizing top volunteers.
  • Encouraging incoming freshmen with a presentation during a school assembly.

Personally, one thing I would avoid is trying to make volunteering a school graduation requirement. In my experience as a high school teacher, forcing high school-aged students to do anything can backfire tremendously. Also, people who genuinely want to volunteer are likely to do a much better job than those forced to do it.

Final Thoughts

“So shines a good deed in a weary world,” Willy Wonka once said by way of Shakespeare. The world is certainly weary right now, and any good deed has the potential to make our shared situation a little brighter. By creating a student volunteer program, you can make a lasting impact on your community. So, take some time between your Zoom classes and consider how you can help out those in need.

Do some good, myKlovr readers, and stay safe out there.

A slightly overweight student in workout clothes walks down a path

How To Avoid The Freshman 15

If you are a high school student in the college application process, the chances are good that you have heard of the term ‘Freshman 15’ before. It refers to the weight that first-year students tend to put on during their first year at school. This tends to be a result of no longer having parents to watch over what you are eating, among other things. If you are not careful, that extra weight could take years to come off, if it ever does. So, here are some simple yet effective tips to avoid putting on the dreaded Freshman 15.

Schedule Your Workouts

Every college has a free gym for the student body to utilize. You may say you are going to go four times a week, and you may even do that for a few weeks, but unless you block out the time in your schedule for it, your new habit won’t last. When planning out your week, find three one-hour blocks that you can dedicate to going to the gym.

If you currently go to the gym, then this won’t be new to you. However, if this will be the first gym you do to, it’s important to pace yourself. The last thing you want to do is pull a muscle or get hurt during the first week of school. Download a workout app, and be sure to pace yourself. Also, try and find someone in your dorm building to be your workout buddy. This will keep you motivated to go when you’d rather just go back and nap.

Eat Healthy In The Dining Hall

Unhealthy meals are unavoidable when going away to college. There will be plenty of nights where you will have pizza for dinner or even breakfast. It’s okay to be social and go out to eat. However, this must be balanced with healthy meals in the dining hall. When eating on campus, try to eat as healthy and clean as possible.

For breakfast, be sure to load up on eggs and skip the pancakes and waffles. For lunch, try going back and forth between salads and sandwiches. Leave out the fried foods. For dinner, keep track of what you eat each day. Try not to have burgers, pizza, or fries two nights in a row. When possible, eat your vegetables and double down on healthy protein like chicken or steak.

Shop Like Your Parents

One of the biggest reasons new college students put on weight is because they have spent their whole lives eating whatever their parents put in front of them. Most parents avoid stocking up on unhealthy snacks or serving too many unhealthy meals. You may not have realized it, but I am sure there were several times that your parents refused to get take out because they thought you needed a home-cooked meal.

When at the grocery store, ask yourself if your parents would buy that? You can still buy your favorite snack, but limit it to one. More importantly, be sure to purchase the same type of healthy foods your parents used to buy. When in the dining hall, try to recreate the healthy meal your Mom used to serve you. If you can get into the mindset of your parents, you will be able to eat healthier.

Get An Accountability Partner

High achievers in the corporate world often speak about their accountability partners and how they have helped them grow and succeed. Trying to keep weight off at college is a difficult feat and requires support. Luckily for you, you do not have to look too far to find someone who is probably going through the same thing.

Once you agree to be accountability partners, you need to set your own fitness goals and share it with the other person. Then, you need to set a weekly meeting to review the previous week. This includes what you ate, how often you went to the gym, when you made good choices and when you made poor ones. Lastly, you need to agree that you can text each other when you need the motivation to go to the gym or eat healthy at dinner.


Going away to college is one of the most exciting times in your life. You deserve to have fun and not worry about putting on too much weight. While some weight gain might be inevitable, you can limit it by following the advice listed above. By following these tips, you can enjoy college and stay healthy at the same time.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is an educational coach helping students prepare for the next steps in life.

Three young women casually walking and talking, having fun

Best Buddies – An Excellent e-Volunteering Opportunity for High School Students

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into Best Buddies International, an organization that supports individuals with intellectual disabilities. Best Buddies provides not only resources and inclusive living training but also One-to-One Friendships to those in need. These friendships involve pairing a volunteer with an individual Best Buddies serves.

The Best Buddies e-Buddies program allows volunteers of all ages to create a friendship with a person with disabilities. In this time when traditional volunteer opportunities are on hold, e-Buddies represents a great way for high school students to make a positive impact on someone’s life.

To learn more about Best Buddies’ mission and volunteer opportunities, I spoke with the organization’s Palm Beach, Florida, area director Tricia Williams. I believe that our conversation will convince you to reach out and make a new friend this summer.

Note: The author edited some responses for clarity and grammar. 

Thomas Broderick: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about people with disabilities?

Tricia Williams: I think that the typical person is surprised at how much they learn from people with disabilities, as there is a misconception that we need to teach them. I have learned so much about compassion and resilience. Also, there are so many people with amazing skills at levels that others think they would not have because of their disabilities. I think of buddies who have amazing skills in accuracy fields, such as mathematics or measurement.

TB: Why is an organization like Best Buddies necessary?

TW: Best Buddies is necessary to help end the social, physical, and economic isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Our programs empower people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships, secure successful jobs, live independently, and feel valued by society.

TB: What do your volunteers (students or otherwise) say that their main reason for volunteering is?

TW: The main reason is getting to know someone who they believe needs their help or assistance. However, they quickly realize they have so much more to learn from people with disabilities.

TB: If I were a high school student interested in volunteering in the e-Buddies program, what advice would you give me about how to be a good buddy?

TW: A good buddy is just another word for a good friend. I would suggest that this is a friendship like any other but like none other at the same time. Your buddy wants to know all about you, and you should want to know all about him or her. Put in an equal amount of effort into getting to know each other. We have so much more in common than we know and we will only find this out by asking each other, ‘What’s your favorite snack?’, ‘What NFL team are you rooting for?’, ‘Do you prefer TikTok or Instagram?’ It is also important to be responsive often. Remember that there is someone on the other end of that email. Your response might be what they look forward to most in their day.

TB: Are there any other organizations you’d recommend where high school students can volunteer online?

TW: As you understand more about the IDD community, find ways to advocate. Don’t participate in offensive social media that mocks our community. Try to understand the differences so you can celebrate the similarities. Special Olympic athletes are also sitting on the sidelines like you and your football friends are. Best Buddies chapters are offering virtual Ambassador Trainings (those wanting to learn how to advocate for the IDD community), or you can join our virtual events, including yoga & dance classes or online games.

Final Thoughts

Pandemic and social unrest have complicated everyone’s life. While we may understand why these negative events are happening throughout the world, some people with intellectual disabilities cannot. This inability can cause fear, anger, and isolation. In other words, people with intellectual disabilities need a friend more than ever right now.

Finally, remember that as you start your e-Buddy journey, a new friendship will not only improve someone else’s life but also your own.

College applicant shakes hands with two interviewers at a desk

10 Tips For Your College Application Interview

For many schools, the path to admission includes a formal one-on-one interview with an admissions counselor or alumni representative. While some high school students may have experienced a job interview, it is unlikely that students have gone through an interview as important or detailed as this one. A college application interview is an opportunity to highlight your achievements, explain any shortcomings, and show colleges the type of person they will be getting if they extend you an acceptance offer. Below are ten tips to ensure your college application interview is a successful one.

#1 – Dress Professionally

Dressing professionally for an interview is more than simply wearing an old suit or a nice dress. Taking time to look as clean and professional as possible sends a strong message to the person interviewing you that you are taking this process seriously. Be sure your clothes are dry cleaned and fit well. If your professional clothing is too big or small, it is time to purchase a few items that fit you better. 

#2 – Share Your Portfolio

Most high school students do not have a resume because they lack a job history. Colleges aren’t looking to find out what positions you have held, they are looking to find out who you are, so use the interview as an opportunity to share what makes you special. You can utilize the myKlovr platform to help you create your portfolio, you’ve already uploaded your grades, awards and achievements, sports teams, volunteer commitments, and more! By presenting your character attributes and accomplishments, you give college interviewers a lot of great information. 

#3 – Research The School

Colleges want to accept students who want to specifically come to their school. Even though you may have applied to others, you need to express your interest in attending this one. Your research should include the year it was founded, famous alumni, what programs they are known for, and any recent events they hosted. Try to memorize a few of these facts and bring them up when you are answering questions.

#4 – Research Your Major

In addition to researching the college as a whole, it is essential to dive deep into the major you intend to study. Be prepared to explain why you chose that major and why you want to go to that specific school to study it. If you don’t know that’s ok, research the learning experience at the college. You can focus on educational opportunities abroad, teaching styles, as well as anything that will show to the interviewer that you have done your homework. It is also a good idea to research the faculty and write down any interesting notes about their work. 

#5 – Participate In Mock Interviews

Mock interviews allow you to craft the right answers to possible questions. The last thing you want is to forget an important detail or bomb a question because you were not prepared. While it is difficult to know exactly what they will ask, prepare to answer questions about anything you did in high school, why you want to attend that college, what your plans are after college, and stories about how past experiences have helped you become who you are today.

#6 – Know Where The Interview Is Located

It is important to show up at least 15 minutes early to your interview to show you are punctual and respect others’ time. Confirm the location of the interview and who it will be with once the appointment is made. Then, view a map of the school to understand where the building is. If possible, use Google Earth to understand what the building looks like. If the school is local, then take a drive the week before and find the building you need. If you are traveling to the school, arrive 30 minutes early to avoid any wrong turns or unforeseen delays.

#7 – Mind Your Body Language

We are often so focused on the words we are saying we forget that our body language and non-verbal cues speak for us as well. The most important thing to remember is to maintain eye contact throughout the entire interview. If you struggle with this, practice mock interviews with your parents or friends. Be sure to sit up straight at all times, this shows the interviewer you are prepared and ready to take the interview seriously.

#8 – Tell Your Story

The key to a good interview is to stand out from the rest of the candidates. While it’s important to point out all of your accomplishments, you need to find ways to separate yourself from the others. Tell stories about obstacles you have overcome, problems you have solved, or anything unique that the interviewer will remember. Don’t be afraid to open up and talk about anything you feel gives a complete picture of who you are and the value you will bring to the school.

#9 – Convey Your Value 

When answering questions, talk about how you see yourself as a student in the school community. Help the interviewer envision what it will be like to have you on campus every day. This includes clubs you plan on joining, classes you’re taking, events you are interested in, and the career you will pursue when you leave. Admissions officers want to make sure that they accept students who will be involved students and engaged alumni.

#10 – Ask Questions

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. This is where you can show your genuine interest in the school and decide if this school is the right fit. Be sure to practice and ask questions about the size of the student body, types of events they host, the internships they offer, partnerships they have with companies, and anything else that helps you get a complete picture of the school. 


Interviews do not need to be stressful. Being prepared will allow you to focus on the task at hand of presenting the best version of yourself possible. Do the research, look professional, practice your answers, and ask questions. If you follow all of the tips on the list, you will be able to leave your interview knowing you did your absolute best.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is an educational coach helping students prepare for the next steps in life.

Person on a laptop computer using video conferencing

Virtual Volunteering and You

If you want to gain volunteering experience – an excellent addition to any college application portfolio – summer 2020 seems like the worst time to do it. The COVID-19 pandemic has made many traditional forms of volunteering impossible. However, organizations around the world need volunteers more than ever. But how to do it safely?

This month, we at myKlovr are examining virtual volunteering opportunities in a two-part series. In this article, please review some virtual volunteering basics. In Part II, we’ll look at one organization, Best Buddies International, which has made virtual volunteering an integral part of its mission to help people with intellectual disabilities.

What is Virtual Volunteering?

As the name suggests, virtual volunteering allows you to help an organization without interacting with other people directly. How does it work? Well, that depends on an organization’s needs. Here’s are some typical examples:

  • Making calls to raise money
  • Writing or editing documents
  • Developing educational materials with a team of volunteers
  • Creating a video
  • Creating a website
  • Making social media posts to raise awareness

How Do I Get Involved?

When you visit an organization’s website, first determine whether they have a virtual volunteering program and if your talents match their needs. If so, send an email to introduce yourself and describe how you can help. Form your email like you would a cover letter.

If an organization does not have a virtual volunteering program, you can still contact them and see if they could use your services. Many organizations that rely on in-person volunteers are struggling right now, and they may bring you aboard if you have a convincing pitch.

How Do I Do a Good Job?

Virtual volunteering resembles the WFH (work from home) many professionals have been doing these last few months. The tasks are approximately the same, but working from home has its challenges. There are plenty of fun distractions, many of which exist on the very computer you use to volunteer.

Virtual volunteering success is two-fold. One, ask your contact to provide you with a solid deadline for your work. Second, create a schedule that provides some break times that are away from the computer or phone you use for volunteering. Until the workday is over, you want to keep your electronics – or at least some of them – for work only.

Another challenge that WFH poses to both employees and volunteers involves communication. If you receive an email or text that you don’t quite get, always clarify. It may feel a bit embarrassing, but many adults – me included – make mistakes when juggling emails with the tons of other things we’re doing online.

Can I Get a Reference?

Before we discuss references, let’s briefly talk about another advantage that virtual volunteering can bring to your college application portfolio. As you volunteer from home, keep track of all work you complete, especially if you’re creating products such as website copy or illustrations. A sample of one of these can make a great addition to a college application.

Back to the references. Just like asking your teacher for a reference, do so as politely as possible. To increase your odds of a great reference, make sure you communicate with your contact person effectively throughout your volunteering experience. Respond to emails in a timely manner and turn in work on time.

As your volunteering time wraps up, make sure to ask nicely and let them know that you’ll be in touch with details once you know which colleges you’ll apply to. In the meantime, send an email every so often to keep them person updated, and maybe ask if you can do anything else for them.

Final Thoughts

COVID-19 has made volunteering incredibly complicated but far from impossible. If you offer your talents to an organization that does some good in the world, they’re likely to accept your help. If you’re forthright and do your best every day, you’re likely to have a positive virtual volunteering experience that will set you up for college admission success.

Young woman studying with laptop in college library

Sit Down With A College Graduate And Ask Them These 3 Questions

The most time-consuming thing a student will do during the college application process is research. They will have to research different colleges, programs, majors, financial aid, dorming, and more to get the full picture of what each school has to offer. Luckily, in 2020, all of this information is readily available online. Yet, it’s the information that is harder to find that is the most valuable.

Hundreds of websites and services will guide and coach you into how to get into college. However, not everyone explains what happens when you get there. Very rarely do you find information regarding advice from college graduates about the obstacles they had to overcome and what they experienced after graduation? To gain this knowledge, you must put in time and effort to speak with other college grads.

The majority of the college grads I speak to were unprepared for the next steps in life because they didn’t take time to prepare themselves. They never sought out the advice of those who came before them. You must include this type of research while going through the college selection process. Therefore, I challenge you to contact a college graduate, sit down with them, and as them these five valuable questions.

What Would You Do Differently When Applying To Colleges?

We all make mistakes when doing something for the first time. Some errors are unavoidable and are apart of the growing pains of being an adult. However, sometimes, you can avoid making mistakes if you know what to look out for. The only way to know this is to learn from someone who made a mistake previously. It might have been unavoidable for them, but by taking the time out to speak with them, it can be very avoidable for you.

Many of the graduates I have surveyed over the years talk about how they wish they had looked at more schools. If the individual you are speaking to shares this regret, ask them to expand upon it. How many more schools would they have visited? Why did they stop when they did? Would they look for different things? The answers to these questions will give you a list of items to keep in mind during your search process. I guarantee you will learn things you would never have thought to think of.

What About College Were You Not Prepared For?

Every graduate I have ever spoken to has a story about something they were not ready for when it comes to starting college. The answers have varied to include classwork, homework, due dates, living at school, and being independent. Whatever it may be, they ended up having a hard time transitioning into this new phase of life. This is avoidable if you are asking the right questions.

When discussing this topic, ask questions about what caught them off guard and what they had to do to adjust it. This lets you know what awaits you and what you need to prepare for. Ask about their first few classes and any pain points they experienced. The chances are good that their answers will reveal possible issues you did not even know existed. College has a lot of moving parts, and most people do not realize all of them until they are actually in it.

If You Could Go Back To College, What Is One Thing, You Would Do Differently?

Everyone has things in life; they wish they could go back and do differently. This is especially true when it comes to attending college. Most students attend college without having a solid understanding of the real world they are supposed to be preparing for. Therefore, once they get their first job, they end up wishing they had done things differently to be better prepared for it.

Ideally, you are trying to learn from this person’s mistakes. For example, a graduate may talk about how they did not get enough work experience before graduating. Clearly, they are saying this because they struggled to adjust to the workforce. The takeaway here is that internships are essential. When looking at colleges, ask about their internship program and how they prepare there students for the real world. Then, remember to apply to multiple internships throughout your college tenure. This type of mindset allows you to avoid the common mistakes most graduates fall into. It also prevents you from becoming the same type of regretful graduate in the future. 

What About Applying To Your First Job Were You Not Ready For?

As a high school student, all your energy and attention is on applying to and getting accepted to college. It’s natural not even to think about what life is going to be like after college when you have not even gotten there yet. However, this is a common mistake that most graduates make. It is a mistake that leaves them unprepared when they are about being their careers.

Now, I am not saying that as a 17-year-old high school junior, you need to have a full understanding of the job application process. All you need at this time is a basic understanding of what will be expected of you. Any insight regarding what employers are looking for will be invaluable as you work your way through college. If you know you will need a particular skill after graduation; you can plan how you are going to work on it during college.

What Is One Piece Of Advice You Would Give Someone Currently Applying To Colleges?

This allows you to gather any information that was not covered in the previous questions. At this point, the person you are speaking to is recalling their memories associated with applying to and attending college. By asking them this broad question, they will give you there most detailed and honest advice.

Regardless of what they say, be sure to pull out all the relevant information and write it down. Capture any regret they have or lesson they learned. Then, make sure you are taking time out after the conversation to review that list and create an action plan around it. The information you are gathering is useless if you do not create a detailed plan of how you are going to use it to your advantage.


In most aspects of life, the answers you seek lie with those who have already done it. You owe it to yourself to be as prepared as possible when entering this crucial phase of life. Take the time throughout your junior and senior years to speak college graduates and ask about their time in school. The more people you talk to, the more knowledge you will get, and the better prepared you will be for that next step in life.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is an educational coach helping students prepare for the next steps in life.

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