September 2020
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Class of 2021: This is Your Year

Your senior year of high school is a year unlike any other ‑ especially with Covid-19 also attending class. Seniors all over the country have had to adapt to the uncertainty of the upcoming year, but remember: this is still YOUR year and YOUR college process. At the Center for College Planning, we recognize the challenges of applying to college amid a global pandemic and we are here to help. Here’s our list of FREE services and new publications for the upcoming term:

  1. Zoom or phone appointments. Although all of our services will be offered remotely for the fall semester, we want to meet you over zoom! In our 60-minute appointments, we can talk about all things college planning: from finding schools that are a good “fit” to reviewing the application process. Call us at 800-747-2382 ext. 119 to schedule your college prep appointment today!
  2. Virtual presentations at your school. Throughout the fall, we will be visiting schools across the state from our kitchen tables to discuss financial aid. Although we will miss seeing everyone in person, we prioritize the health and safety of you and our team. Contact your school counselor or check our calendar of events to see when we will be at your school!
  3. Financial Aid and College Admissions Insiders. Our guides to “College Planning 101” are now available on our website! Each publication explains the need-to-know information as you navigate the college planning process. Find our Financial Aid Insider here and our College Admissions Insider here.
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Managing Stress

We are living through stressful times ‑ social injustice, the global pandemic, economic uncertainty, global warming, and countless other issues. Coupled with the stress of being a student and simply being a human, it can become hard to manage. Although stress ‑ to a certain level ‑ is healthy and normal, chronic and persistent stress and anxiety can have harmful effects. A recent study by the American Psychological Association (2014) reported that one third of teens feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and depressed because of stress during the academic year. So, what can you do to cope with stress?

  1. Do a stress inventory. What triggers stress for you? How do you deal with stress? When do you know you’re stressed? Stress looks different for everyone, so before implementing coping strategies, first think about how you experience stress.
  2. Take care of yourself. Eat your vegetables, drink water throughout the day, and don’t forget to sleep. The American Psychological Association (2014) writes that 1 in 5 teens feel more stressed when they do not get enough sleep. The goal should be 8 hours of sleep per night ‑ plan ahead when you have an exam so you do not need to pull an all-nighter. Also, taking care of your mind and body through exercise and meditation will allow you to recharge. When life gets hectic and stress sets in, it can be easy to forget the importance of self-care.
  3. Consider new ways to manage stress. Healthy stress management strategies like exercise, meditation, and spending time doing things that make you happy are critical to mental health. However, it can be heard to unlearn the unhealthy habits we have lived with; focus on changing one behavior at a time.
  4. Reach out for help when you need it. Speaking to friends, family, or community members you trust can help relieve stress. Vocalizing feelings in safe spaces can help us to process and work-through our emotions.

"Burnout & Stress" by Hangout Lifestyle is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Virtual College Fairs

Last fall, attending a college fair meant walking around a crowded auditorium or gymnasium to meet admissions representatives. This year, attending a college fair means logging into a web browser to meet admissions representatives virtually. A virtual college fair will give high school juniors and seniors ‑ just like you ‑ the opportunity to learn about colleges and universities from the people who know them best. A college fair, whether virtual or in-person, is designed for you to find the best match and fit for your academic, personal, and professional interests. Have questions about attending a virtual college fair? Check out our answers below.

  1. How do I find virtual college fairs?

    Your first stop should be the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) virtual college fairs this fall. NACAC offers some of the largest college fairs in the United States and they are entirely FREE to attend! This year, NACAC will host four, one-day, virtual college fairs on September 13, October 12, October 18, and November 8 ‑ with more than 600 colleges in attendance. To register for any of these dates, visit

    This summer, the New England Area Regional Representatives (NEARR) hosted a series of webinars featuring colleges from around the United States and abroad. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about colleges outside of New England for free. To watch the recordings, click here.

    Also speak with your school counselor. Are there local college fairs for your high school? Does your counselor have recommendations? Keep in mind that doing a google search for “virtual college fairs” will bring up endless options ‑ some of which might require payment. There are free options, like the NACAC fairs and the NEARR webinars, that will introduce you to hundreds of colleges and universities.

  2. What can I expect from a virtual college fair?

    The purpose of a virtual college fair is not different than an in-person fair: to discover “fit.” During a virtual college fair, schools will offer a variety of ways for you to connect with them. Schools might offer one-on-one conversations, panels, question and answer sessions, pre-uploaded videos, or live webinars. The benefit of a virtual college fair is that colleges are able to offer a wider variety of information and host miniature information sessions throughout the day.

    Use the college fair to think outside the box and visit colleges that you might not have considered before. It can be easy to turn off our cameras and just listen, but if you’re able, consider turning your camera on to ask questions and connect with the colleges you are most excited about. This is the time to ask about test scores, diversity, student life, or financial aid ‑ don’t hold back!

  3. How do I prepare for a virtual college fair?

    Preparing for a virtual fair is not unlike an in-person fair ‑ you will still need to register, mark your calendar, invite family or friends, and do your homework. Let’s break this down:

    • Registering for a college fair will give admission representatives access to your information, so they can follow up on a conversation or send materials. Remember that this goes both ways, though ‑ if you really connected with a college, send that representative a thank you note! They will be appreciative that you took the time to say “thanks.”
    • Marking your calendar will remind you to set aside time for the college fair. Virtual college fairs will offer several sessions throughout the day, so be sure to schedule ample time to attend all the sessions and conversations you would like.
    • Inviting family and friends helps you do two things: divide and conquer AND debrief. It is helpful to hear another perspective on a session or ask a loved one to attend a session that you cannot attend.
    • Doing your homework before a college fair means researching which colleges will be in attendance. This will help you create the itinerary for your day, as well as prioritize and optimize your time. If you miss a school during the college fair, it’s okay! Colleges have so many resources on their website and are offering creative virtual programs.
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Major spotlight ‑ Cosmetology

Did you always braid your friends’ hair as a kid? Do you love making others feel confident and beautiful? If so, studying cosmetology might be the right path for you! This month we spoke to Alex Laverriere, a hair stylist in Manchester, about all things beauty. Here’s what she wants you to know about becoming a cosmetology professional:

Center for College Planning: As a high school student, did you know you wanted to go to cosmetology school?

Alex Laverriere: I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser when I was a sophomore in high school! I did a tour at MST and absolutely loved it and really committed myself to pursuing cosmetology seriously. I was able to get a head start on my 1,500 hours of schooling I needed and went on to finish my hours at Michael’s School of Hair Design in Bedford!

CCP: What should students look for in a cosmetology school? Are there specific questions to ask when looking for a school?

AL: Each school has a different vibe and energy. I loved the upbeat tone at Michael’s. They offered a program called Phase Two where in the last couple hundred hours of your schooling you were in an advanced group of students that mimicked salon reality where we took multiple clients a day and were able to double book which was really cool! I would recommend touring all schools in the area to get a feel for each one and see which one felt the most comfortable for you!

CCP: What can students expect from coursework in cosmetology? What is the breakdown between class time and hands-on practice?

AL: When I went to Michael’s, we went through different phases based off of how many hours we had completed. Usually half your day was broken up into book work/classroom stuff and hands on work on the clinic floor! It’s a good even mix of book work and hands on!

CCP: What do you love most about your work?

AL: What I love the most about my work is making my clients feel happy and confident. I love seeing their face after I am all done their hair. I also love when I do a color and I can see it coming together as I start to style it. It makes me giddy and excited.

CCP: What advice would you give to students looking to start a career in cosmetology?

AL: The advice I would give to cosmetology students would be to find a salon/stylist that will mentor you and take you under their wing when you get out of school. Just because you are licensed does not mean you know everything and are ready for anything. I learned so much once I got out of school and in the salon. It’s so important to have a work environment that will help you grow through the very beginning of your career behind the chair. Have patience with yourself. You do not need to be perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes. Own it and learn from it and move forward. Learn how to market yourself through social media. It has single handedly grow my clientele so fast in the past two and a half years of being licensed. Lastly and most importantly NEVER stop learning. GO take the classes and workshops. Knowledge is power. It does not matter how long you have been doing hair you’re always a student and there is always something to learn.


The Create a Greeting Card Scholarship from the Gallery Collection allows high school and college students to flex their creativity by creating an original greeting card. All themes are welcome ‑ from holiday and thank you cards to get well and graduation cards. The successful entry will win $10,000; the deadline is March 9, 2021.