How To Get Your Group Noticed On Campus

Recruitment and getting your organization's name out there is difficult as a registered student organization, whether your organization is old or new. Today on The Happy Arkansan we are discussing a few awesome ways to get your organization's name and face out there.

How To Get Your Group Noticed On Campus | Do you struggle to get your group noticed on campus? Click through for five awesome ideas that are sure to get your organization known on campus whether you are a member of a sorority or an honor society.

1. Host A Visibility Challenge

So, what is a visibility challenge? A visibility challenge is where you challenge your members to be loud and proud about your organization. Essentially you ask them to do the following:

Wear your organization's swag and post about how the organization  makes them feel.

Simple enough, right? Pick one day out of every month and ask your members to wear the organization's shirt. Then give them a prompt that they can use to post about the organization on social media. Here are some example prompts:

  • What is one lesson they have learned from the organization?
  • What is their favorite value that the organization teaches or has instilled in them?
  • What would they say to people who are thinking of joining the organization or similar organizations?
  • Who is a member that inspires you to be a better member? (Get them to tag that member in their post.)
  • What is their favorite event they have ever attended that the organization hosted?

You can come up with so many questions that your members might love to discuss.

Ask your members to use specific hashtags when they make their post, tag your national organization, and just do what they can to make the post more visible, because it is a visibility challenge after all.

Incentivize

If you are hosting a visibility challenge and you have issues with participation, put a little incentive behind it. Do a drawing each month for a Starbucks gift card or a gift card to the local textbook bookstore that people in your organization use. Pick a winner by seeing who posted on social media using the campaign specific hashtags you set up. Pick a platform or two you want people to post on. Or you could get everyone who wants to be entered into the drawing to share what they posted with you via email or submit it to a form or Google Drive spreadsheet. Then once you have that information use a random name picker to pick a winner and get them their prize. If you decide to have them send you the information, make sure you put a clear time limit on when they should send you the information by. People love to wait until the last minute and you don't want to wait forever to draw a winner.

2. Hold A Sweet Tea/Hot Chocolate Social

If your organization is full of social butterflies, you may want to host a sweet tea or hot chocolate social (depending on the time of year of course.) Get permission to set up a table near the Student Union, contact your campuses dining services and get them to provide lots of sweet tea/hot chocolate and something light like cookies or something portable like a cupcake. You may even want to get permission to bring your own food if it will be cheaper for your organization.

On a busy time like the first week of class, midterms, or finals week get you organization members outside to socialize with people passing by. Have an an activity to do like cornhole or even just a cool big sheet of paper or a banner for people to sign and leave their mark on the event. 

Have flyers for your organization to hand out at the event. On the flyer share your social media platforms, who to talk to about joining, or any other information you find relevant. Give the people working the booth some talking points and make sure they know about some of the cool events you have coming up in the organization.

Make sure everyone who passes by your table is able to pick up a sweet treat on the way to class.

3. Do A Walk or 5K Race

If you have a lot of athletes in your organization and you love giving back to charity see if you can host a walk or 5K for an organization nationally or in the area. Walks and 5Ks are very popular, especially if you can theme it.  This list from Greatist that showcases The 29 Most Incredible Theme Races Of 2014 is a great place to start if you are looking for a potential way to make your race stand out above other races going on near and on your campus.

Another great thing about races? They usually come with a t-shirt of some sort. This means prolonged promotion for your organization because you can have your name on the front of the shirt (and even make connections with other organizations by getting them to sponsor spots on the back of the shirt to make some extra money to host the 5K.)

Walks and 5Ks do take a lot of commitment. You have to plan the walk (which includes things like finding vendors, finding a location/route for the walk, finding participants to do the walk, and more than likely security personnel for the walk) plus you have to get your organization members to work the walk (whether that's in shifts or it's an all day thing) and then finding a way to hold people who don't show up/don't have an excuse accountable for missing their duties.

Walks are great though because you can usually give a lot back to the community by doing a walk plus getting your community in shape is a win-win for everyone.

4. Get Pied In The Face For Charity

This was one of my favorite events that my sorority hosted, but I have also seen it hosted when I was an Ambassador. Either way, this event is pretty easy to manage.

Do not get intricate with your pies. In the event with my sorority we literally just got a paper plate and sprayed whipped cream on the plate. It's the effect of putting a pie into someone's face, not necessarily the messiness factor that draws people to this event.

Also, put down a plastic tarp over the area that you intend to do this, whipped cream does not like to come out of concrete for some reason...not without a little force anyway so be smart and cover the area you plan to do this event at.

Also, if you get pied in the face do not laugh and snort the whipped cream into your nostrils...learn from those who have gotten pied in the face before you.

Pay-Per-Pie

Blurry college memories for the win.

Blurry college memories for the win.

When I was in my sorority we hosted an event called Pie A Sigma Tri. This was an event I actually ended up getting pied in the face during (although I definitely didn't sign up for it, but it was for the children, and one of my classmates saw me at the booth and wanted to pie me in the face.)

During this event each pie was $3 per throw for members and $4 per throw for officers in our sorority. 

We did the entire event in one day, with some obvious promotion before the event so people knew what day and time we would be doing this event. 

This is a fun event because you can pie as many people as you want. The next event I am talking about is more for professors and university presidents (high profile people in your university you know everyone can't pie in the face, because they can't be outside all day getting pied in the face.) If it's just members of your organization, though, you can work shifts at your table so multiple people can pay to pie their friends; RAs; roommates; and just random people in the face.

Pay To Get one specific person pied Once

When I was an Ambassador we hosted an event where we chose a few prominent figures on campus to potentially get pied in the face. We had buckets in the Student Center where people voted on their favorite candidate to get paid in the face with change. Then one day, right outside the Student Union we pied that person in the face for the whole campus to see. Obviously that person ended up being the president of the university. If you can get a prominent person on campus like the president of your university, the chair of your department, your university mascot, etc to get pied in the face in front of the school--that would be a great way to raise some buzz about your event. 

You may want to have an exact person in mind before you advertise and get people to donate based on that one specific person or you may want have a competition where you have people pick between the three people in the university they want to see get a pie in the face. Don't give people too many choices, but make all the choices meaningful to your campus.

To go along with your challenge of picking a specific person to pie in the face, you can also raffle off tickets for who gets to pie them in the face. Get people to pay a dollar or two for a chance to pie the high profile person in the face.

This is a double whammy of promotion for your organization because you get promotion once when you have your charity drive and then again when the person gets pied in the face. It is a little more work because you are planning two events, but this can be really beneficial.

5. Have A Talent Show

If you have a lot of really talented people in your organization you can plan a night of fun for your entire campus and get everyone on your campus involved.

One of my favorite events that I have seen other sorority chapters in my sorority Tri Sigma host is Tri Sigma Night Live. It's a twist on SNL where the entire campus gets together to recreate an SNL skit for charity.

I have also seen some really awesome pageants being thrown in my day to raise money for charity. If you can hook this up with your state pageant system, that would make the event even more beneficial and will make it even more likely that people will enter your pageant.

You can also just plan a basic talent show. Be sure to throw in a few acts from members of your own organization here and there. They probably shouldn't be able to win the talent show but it will help fill time slots in case an act is running behind, doesn't show, or in case you don't have enough acts.

Take a quiz

Want to take a quiz to see which of these events your organization should host first and sign up to get a FREE copy of my PDF "10 Extra Ways To Get Your Organization Noticed"? Simply take the quick 6 question quiz below and enter your name and email address when prompted!

What did you think of your results? Be sure to share them with me in the comments below so I can see what you will be working on next.

How will you promote your organization?

Comment

Amanda Cross

My name is Amanda Cross and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a 20 something college graduate, graduate student, and all around awesome person.

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How To Effectively Skim An Academic Book

When it comes to writing papers in college, we often have to read academic books. I have discussed how to effectively skim academic articles on the blog before, but today I want to discuss how to skim books. This is a great skill to have, because who wants to read a 300 page book in a week to do a paper? Not this girl! Check out my tips below.

How To Effectively Skim An Academic Book | A lesson that is important but less often taught in college is skimming (especially skimming books.) Click through to learn how to effectively skim academics books so you can spend less time reading, and more time writing.

Attention: This is not going to be about getting the cliff notes version of the book!

For some books that works, but I am not just going to tell you that. Skimming the book requires more focus than just picking up a summary of the book. Today I am going to give you the rundown on what skimming a book entails and I am going to go in-depth on this. I will even be sharing a video where I walk you through these steps because I want to make sure that you are able to skim an actual book.

I hope that you love this post and that it helps you out. These are seriously the things I wish I knew when I first started school, especially graduate school. If you know the story of when I first started graduate school I was drowning in school work. That semester I was taking sociological theory and my course had about 10 books along with countless articles. I was trying to read every word of these books, but I am here to tell you that you do not need to do this. No one does this.

The people that you see keeping up with their schoolwork each week are not reading the books word for word.

I think that we get so wrapped up in other people's study habits and the fact that they seem to be on top of things that we don't take a step back and try to understand the most effective and efficient way to research and study. Today we are going to fix that.

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I. Understand Why you are reading the book

The first step to skimming anything, whether it is a book or an article is to take a step back and understand why you are reading it. Different things require different levels of skimming. For some things you can potentially stop at the table of contents, but for some you may have to dig deeper and read parts of the chapters in the book.

Here are some reasons you might be reading the book:

  1. Writing an annotated bibliography: Honestly, the table of contents will be your best friend if you are just writing an annotated bibliography. You can't go too in depth when you are writing an annotated bibliography, but you do want to give a few facts past what you can see in the table of contents.
  2. Writing a paper: If you are just including the book as a reference in a paper the table of contents and a few chapters you find interesting throughout the book to skim would be most important.
  3. Writing a paper about the book: If your paper is centered around the book your skimming will be focused around the table of contents and each chapter in the book.
  4. Discussing the book in class: If you are reading the book to discuss it in a class and maybe write a smaller assignment about the book, you will still need to skim the table of contents and all the chapters, but this won't be as detailed a skim as if you were writing a paper about it.

Pro Tip: If you are reading the book to discuss in class, do a light skimming of all the chapters, and then get to know a couple of topics that seem important really well. Don't get called on, talk first, and give your opinions on what you have learned well.

The above pro tip has literally saved my life in discussion based courses where I skim a book to discuss in class. The same can be said of any article your skim too.

Read The Assignment

Before you do any kind of skimming, read the assignment. Know exactly what is expected of you and how the book plays into those expectations. How much detail does your professor want from the book? How do they discuss the book when it comes to those expectations?

For example, sometimes you may have a paper that is centered around the book, but the summary of the book only takes up a few pages of the assignment. If this is the case, you can be more selective with how much work you put into skimming.

Additionally, if this book is a part of a larger 30 page paper and will just be 1 of 30 sources, you will approach skimming a lot differently than if you are writing a 30 page paper on just this book.

Read the assignment first to get an understanding of how much detail you need to give and find a way to skim the book that gives you that much detail.

II. Understand The Important Parts Of The Book

In this section I will cover the important parts of the book that you want to make a mission to look through when you are working on skimming your book. These are the parts I normally skim, but skim with the context of your assignment in mind.

Cover

The cover can be very beneficial (but it really depends on the layout of the book.) Not all book covers are as valuable as they used to be. Some book covers are just a love letter to the author(s), but some book covers do a great job at offering a synopsis of the book. Having a brief paragraph about the book before you jump into it can be beneficial for you.

Make your way to the back of the book because the covers aren't usually very helpful. The synopsis will most likely be found on the back of the book.

Table Of Contents

The table of contents is one of the most helpful parts of the book, especially because some books have extremely detailed table of contents. Look at the table of contents and examine what chapters are in the book and what each chapter is talking about. 

If you have to write a small essay about this book this can be really beneficial because you take the table of contents and examine which ones you want to focus on, and which chapters you may not want to read much on.

Pro Tip: Remember, this is not a fiction book. These chapters don't necessarily build on each other. You don't have to (and potentially shouldn't) read each chapter in succession.

Students get caught up on reading every single word, but there is a big chance that you don't have to, and in fact, you shouldn't. Use the table of contents to guide your reading to the parts of the book that you feel will be most helpful for you.

Index

The index of an academic book can be really beneficial, because it groups a lot of categories and people together.

Pro Tip: Think about how many items are listed for a certain topic in the index. If a certain topic has a long index listing, it is more than likely very important, and should be included in your essay or discussion of the book.

The length of an index listing should be an important tell for the importance of that topic. Take the following index listings pulled from Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity:


agreements:

broken, 244-49

completing, 246-47

renegotiating, 247-48

next-action decisions, 60, 62, 77-79, 127-39, 253-65, 268

accountability and, 262-63

as acquired practice 254-55

categories of 43-45

clarity and, 261-62

and creating the options of doing, 255-57

empowerment and, 264-65

intelligent dumbing down and, 259-61

as operational standard, 253, 264-65

procrastination and, 257-61

productivity and, 263

source of technique, 254-55

 

As we can see here, we have a lot of information in this book about next-action decisions, but not only is there a lot of information, it is pretty spread throughout the book. One, once we go back to the table of contents for this book we understand that their is an entire chapter devoted to this concept in David Allen's book, but there is also a few mentions of this concept in other parts of this book which is a good sign.

On the other hand, agreements only has a couple of entries, and they are really bound to one part of the book. This wouldn't be a good topic to spend a lot of time on if you are skimming a book, because there isn't much on this topic in the book.

If you were writing a paper on this book, you would be better served spending time looking at the next-action decision listings over the agreements listings, because you could get more out of your time spent skimming.

Furthermore, if you want to make a believable case that you have read the book, you would be better served adding content that takes up a bigger section of the book. Including things that take up a big portion of the book means that you understand what the big picture concepts of the book are.

Headings & Subheadings Of Chapters

Once you are in the actual chapters of the book, you must become familiar with the various headings and subheadings of the book. This helps you keep on target and understand that you need to get through as much of the chapter as possible.

This is obviously not to say that you have to read everything, but that you have to read a little bit of everything. If you can say a couple of things about each of the headings/subheadings in a book that is good when it comes to deciding what to write in a paper.

Remember that you won't have to skim every part of a book the same way. You may want to lightly skim some parts of a chapter, which may not require much more than just looking at pictures and definitions. Some skimming will require heavy reading of sections of the chapter.

Introduction & Conclusion Chapters

If your book has introduction or conclusion chapters, those can be really important to read and heavily skim. Just like the introduction and conclusion sections of an article are extremely beneficial, so are those chapters. Sometimes all you truly need to know about a book can be found in a comprehensive search of the conclusion chapter.

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III. Understand Sections Of The Book You probably Don't Need To Read

There are many parts of a book that are just there mainly for serious academics in a field. You don't necessarily have to read these sections, especially as an undergraduate. I do want to discuss these sections and where it might be appropriate to read these sections.

Notes

Academic books often have notes and end notes scattered throughout chapters and at the end of pages. Don't read those, they are usually just there for other academics who may have more questions about a certain concept. If you do have a few extra questions or want to learn a little more, you can definitely read those, but most professors don't expect that you will read those end notes and notes sections.

Appendix/Appendicies

Unless you are specifically told to read the appendix, this is another section of the article you can probably skip (especially for an undergraduate paper.) There is a reason that it was put at the back of the book versus in the actual chapter. Think of it as the geeky methodology explanation and the really specific information, usually this is for academics to read. It may be beneficial if there is a concept that you don't understand in the book that you think will be further understood by skimming the appendix, but otherwise you can skip these sections.

Selected Bibliographies

Sometimes the author of an academic book will include a selected bibliography where they will include some great extra reads. You don't have to necessarily look into this, but it can be beneficial if you are looking for other sources to cite in a paper you are writing.

IV. Understand the purpose is to skim

Often times when we skim, we forget the fact that we are actually skimming. We get so enthralled with the sections of the book that we are reading for the purposes of skimming that we start to read instead of skim the text. Don't do this.

The Pomodoro Technique

I have told y'all about why I am obsessed with the pomodoro technique in the past. I love this even more for skimming books and articles. Why? The Pomodoro Technique makes you take a break when you are studying. During this break you are forced to take sometime to check emails or check Instagram, and during this time you are also assessing your previous study session. As you are relaxing for a few minutes between sessions you can re-evaluate how much time you are spending skimming versus just reading.

When you don't use the pomodoro technique it's easy to study for hours without ever re-evaluating your skimming. Taking breaks allows you to re-orient yourself and skim more. 

V. The Video

Below I have filmed a great video all about skimming an academic book. It is about 20 minutes so it is rather lengthy, but I hope that y'all love it. Let me know if you have any questions about this video.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you found this post helpful as you begin skimming academic books. Reading is fun, but don't feel that you need to read ever single world of every book that you read for class. I wish I had known these tips and tricks when I started graduate school in 2015. It would have saved me SO MANY restless nights during my first semester of graduate school.

COMMENT BELOW
What is your best skimming tip for articles or books?
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Amanda Cross

My name is Amanda Cross and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a 20 something college graduate, graduate student, and all around awesome person.

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How To Effectively Study In A Library

When it comes to college, one important rite of passage is being up late studying in a library at least once in your time as a college student (but not an all-nighter though, we all know my opinion on all-nighters.) Today I am going to walk you through the steps of how to effectively study in a library. From what to bring to where to study, I have you covered on this post.

How To Effectively Study In A Library | Click through to learn how to effectively study in a library by learning what to bring, where to study, and why the library might not be the most productive place to study.

I. How To Plan Your Library Study Session

It is important to think about what you will bring to the library. At least when I lived on campus, going to the library was kind of a thing. Most people don’t live right beside the library so even if it’s not that big of a deal to walk, if you leave the library, chances are you are done for the day (or at least a few hours). So, to effectively study in a library I suggest you do the following:

Go Over What You Intend To Study

What do you need to do at the library today? Figuring out exactly what you need to study in the library will help you out a lot. If you have a plan of what courses you will be studying for when you get to the library you can then make an effective plan for what to bring. You want to be well prepared when you go to the library so having all the textbooks and miscellaneous things you need is essential, but so is not carrying things you don’t need.

Having too many things in your backpack on the way to the library can be exhausting. It can make you question why you want to go to the library to begin with. Don’t question yourself. Make smart decisions and be smart about what you pack by having a study plan before you leave.

Be honest with yourself, how much can you really get done in a few hours at the library. Even if you are the most focused person in the world, a library grind session can only produce so much in terms of results.

PRO TIP: If you are studying with someone in the same class as you, coordinate with them. Chances are you both won't need the book at the same time, so see if you can coordinate which one of you will bring the book during your study session.

Click the picture above to download my awesome Library Study checksheet. Print this out and then fill it out for each study session you have. This sheet is awesome because it details your big picture item for the study session and allows you to break that big picture item into various tasks. Then it allows you to write out some smaller tasks that will be helpful to do during your library session as well.

During your study session you want to focus on your big picture task. Then once that is done, if you still feel like you can study longer you have a list of three secondary tasks you want to work on. I know getting four tasks done during a library study session sounds small, but if you are like me, this is important. After a while in the library, at least for me, I ended up doing more goofing off than studying. Doing just four tasks, and doing them well, will serve you best so you don’t overwork yourself while you are in the library (and so you don’t waste your time by feigning productivity.)

The Happy Library Study Packing List

Here are the things that I recommend for every library studying trip.

  • Laptop and laptop charger (if you plan to be on your computer, some libraries allow you to rent laptops in the library, which is what I usually did instead of bringing my own to the library)
  • Necessary textbooks if you have physical copies (don’t bring every textbook, only the ones you know you will use.)
  • Your Planner/Your Library Study Plan Sheet
  • School supplies (at least a notebook and some pens and/or pencils)
  • Cell phone and cell phone charger
  • Headphones (to be quiet zones, libraries can be awfully loud, especially campus libraries)
  • Water bottle (always remember this, don’t fall prey to the vending machines, I recently bought this one from Ban.do and I am obsessed!)
  • Student ID (a must for any library trip, especially if you want to print)
  • Food (no excuses to leave, bring some snacks)
  • Period supplies (if it’s your time of the month, definitely bring these, your library probably doesn’t provide them)

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II. Where To Study

The library can be a pretty sprawling place. Here are my rules for where to study in a library:

NEVER Study On The First Floor

This is my BIGGEST study rule for library studying. If you can help it, never study on the first floor, especially if you want serious results from your study session. Your best bet for a serious study session is to go up at least to the second floor. The higher you go up in the library, it seems, the quieter it gets. You want to study as far up as makes sense for you.

NEVER study near stairs or the doorway

Again, this is a huge spot for distractions. People don’t really consider their volume as much when they are just walking into the library or when they are taking the stairs/getting off an elevator. These spots are bound to have a ton of distractions so your best bet would be to stay away from them when you are deciding where to study.

Try to get a study room

Study rooms are amazing. At my old university we had a plethora of study rooms and I always love studying in them way more than I liked studying in the open. If you can find a study room, they are great because they offer you a bit of privacy when studying, and you can talk things out a lot more within them than you can in the general library.

Understand how you study best

Studying in a group is something that a lot of people love to do, especially in the library, but it doesn't work best for everyone. I will elaborate on this more in just a second, but be wary that what works for others will not always work for you. Your friends and their study habits will not always work for you, and as I have stated on the blog before, you have to stop worrying about other people's study habits.

III. Using library Resources

Your library has a plethora of amazing resources that will help you become more effective at studying as well as a more effective student.

I have a huge post all about how to use research databases that I published over the summer. This is one of my favorite posts on The Happy Arkansan so you should go check that post out right now if you want to use your libraries research database.

Chances are your library also has an online catalogue of all the books in the library--use this system. Searching for books in a college library can be a complete and utter pain, so don't do it without going on a search online first. Having a great understanding of what your library has to offer by checking it out online first really helps, because aimlessly searching for an important book just isn't okay.

PRO TIP: Don't forget about library services like Interlibrary Loan. These services will help you boost your study skills and really help you with any papers you have to write.

I sent out a tweet about this post looking for some pro tips about studying in the library and one of my Twitter followers, Heather, mentioned Interlibrary Loan (or ILL.) This is seriously one of the best things that colleges have to offer, especially when you start doing extensive research. You are NOT confined to your school. Use ILL to your advantage and request documents if you need them to do your research. Never feel that you have to be pigeonholed to your libraries information.

Become best friends with your reference librarian

Most libraries have at least one librarian with the title "reference librarian." If you are not currently comfortable with using a library or you even need help on something more advanced, your reference librarian can really help point you in the right direction. Find out who this person is, and talk with them. If you can't find them, any librarian will probably know the basics of the library, but if you can find the reference librarian they will be an even bigger help to you. Reference librarians are well trained on the different offerings of your school library so that is why they are the most trusted source.

You can usually easily spot the reference librarian because they will have a sign or they will be the person working the information desk at the library. Ask them questions and you can begin to unlock all the amazing things your library offers.

IV. Remember, The Library Won’t Make You Productive

Before we leave, I have one thing to say, the library won’t make you inherently productive. Yes, studying in the library can be a great experience, we all want to get together with friends or camp out alone in the library one night. This will not make you inherently productive, though. You may hate group study sessions and find them distracting. You may hate the entire concept of libraries and study better in the student union or in a student lounge area.

I do think studying in the library at least once is a rite of passage for college students. Do it. It is great. But if you find out that it doesn’t work for you, don’t force yourself to love studying in the library. Some people are more productive laying in their bed, some people are more productive in a private study room in the library.

The most productive thing I ever started doing for myself was using The Pomodoro Technique which I have talked about on the blog before. It's not always going to the library and working tirelessly, sometimes it's just better time management that will help you and your study habits out. 

Extra Resources

Check out these bloggers and their thoughts on studying in the library. I love sharing the love, so go check out these other posts about studying in the library:

5 Things You Need Before You Study In The Library by As Life Grows

Library Study Session Tips & Essentials by Bookish and Bright

How To Have A Product Library Study Session by Macarons & Mascara

COMMENT BELOW
What are your best library study tips? How do you stay productive in the library?
1 Comment

Amanda Cross

My name is Amanda Cross and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a 20 something college graduate, graduate student, and all around awesome person.

The Ultimate College Toolkit

Dec15

Enter your name and email address to get instant access to my college toolkit. The toolkit features 60+ resources to help you with things like writing, research, scholarships, dorm decor, and so much more. This toolkit will be updated with new resources every month so please check it out today!

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