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Charcuterie Boards That Are Works of Art

 Charcuterie Creations For The Holidays Photo by My Jewish Mommy Life IG I am not sure if you noticed, but charcuterie boards are the latest popular item of the year. My young adult daughters have been making charcuterie boards on Thanksgiving for years. Even my nephew has one almost every Friday with wine, and he’ll tell you it’s one of his biggest accomplishments. In fact, I recently bought him a large bamboo cheese board with serving tools to up his charcuterie game. If you search #charcuterieboard on Instagram, you’ll find some exemplary works of art. Most charcuterie boards consists of mainly meats and cheeses, but it doesn’t stop there. The “fancier” ones can include bread, fruits, nuts, and condiments such as honey or mustard (or even honey mustard), pickles, and olives. The latest trend is holiday charcuterie boards. You’ll find images all over IG with some of the sweetest, most decadent chocolate and candy masterpieces. […]

Happiest Time of the Year

We are approaching what is considered to be the happiest time of the year…Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, other holidays, New Year’s… for many of us, it is a time of joy, reflection, and family. Holidays can also be a very difficult time for those who are alone and those who have lost someone. I was raised in a family that always welcomed friends to share in our family holiday time so now to be facing the holidays while trying to balance protecting our matriarchs in the family, is forcing us to redefine how we celebrate. 

Are Your Family Dynamics Changing?

When we dropped our daughter off at college, her dad and I and her younger sister drove away, tears streaming down our faces (well not her sister’s face). We’d return home as a family of three which took on a whole new personality. This was the first of many life shifts I came to understand. It took some time for us to adjust to the empty chair at the dinner table and to cooking for three and only having to chauffeur one child around. It was different. Not good different, not bad different … just different.

Top Tips for Finals Week

December is the best month filled with holiday cheer, amazing food, and time spent with family but before this fun time happens, students have to get through the struggles of finals week. If you are anything like my student, finals week is a stressful one. And with finals going virtual this year, some students may be taking them from home. We turned to our interns, many of whom are juniors and seniors for their top tips for finals week.

Twas the Night before Holiday Vacation

And So the Story Goes… Winter break, visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, family time, and maybe a family vacation; and having your student home. But your vision and your student’s vision of winter break may just be polar opposites. Add to this vision is that students who leave for Thanksgiving will have the choice to finish up the semester online with the new semester not starting until mid to late January (some schools are even starting later). Many of us will have them home for 6 weeks or more. Some will take COVID tests before coming home for Thanksgiving if they have not already tested positive. Some will still need to social distance from their family. And for those you go back after Thanksgiving, perhaps they will need another test before returning home for winter break. With many students finishing up the semester at home, they will need a […]

We’re Coming Home !!! Let’s Compromise.

Here we come, home for Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years, so we are going t need to compromise. For students, coming home for Thanksgiving this year doesn’t necessarily just mean a 3-day break where we come home on Wednesday and are gone by Sunday because most colleges have decided to go online after Thanksgiving. This means that we will likely not make our return to campus until mid-January of 2021, if not later if that is what we choose to do. Some students who have leases are choosing to return to school after Thanksgiving and ride out the three weeks of in-between. Students in dorms also have the option to come back, but others may choose to stay home. Most sorority houses will be open for the two weeks after Thanksgiving so women will have a place to take exams.

Leaving School for Holiday Break?

What You Should Do Before You Head Out for Holiday Break Right before students head out for Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break, they’ve spent the week finishing up assignments, holed up in the library studying for exams, living off coffee (or any form of caffeine), and a meager diet.  By the time they are finished, almost ready to just get home and catch up on sleep and have a home-cooked meal, they forget that there are certain things they need to do before they head out. Now we have said they are sleep-deprived so you may want to gently remind them of some items they should take care of before they leave, less they risk coming back to their dorm or apartment smelling of rotten food, possible bugs, missing items. Here is that list: The Kitchen: Throw away all perishable food that may expire before they leave (or pack it […]

Tis the Holiday Shop Season

It is hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner. For this year’s holiday gift guide, we’ve sent out our interns to pull together an unscientific list of gift ideas… we’re just the messengers. We asked them for ideas and they gave us everything from lowcost to lavish, from the newest releases to timeless picks… from the usual to the unique. We’ve even included some charities to donate to as that is part of our family tradition. I believe we are all just hoping for a holiday filled with family, good health, love, joy, and blessings.

Best Holiday Gift Ideas for College Kids

We know how busy you are and how sometimes thinking about gift-giving is the last thing on the list. Coming up with a clever, thoughtful, and decent gift can be a challenge. HaveUHeard spends a lot of time coming up with great ideas for you and your college student. Then we find ways to save you money too. Most of our gift guides feature some kind of savings.  Take a look at these simple ideas, presented to you as a theme. You could theme your holiday and have everything surrounding just one theme. that certainly will narrow down all the speculation. Your kids will remember the yoga Christmas or the Apple Hanukkah. That just might make this 2020 holiday time easier to swallow. 

Great Holiday Gifts under $50 that College Kids will love

Finding a great holiday gift is not about spending a lot of money, it’s about considering the receiver and what would make them really happy. Don’t get hung up on the prices, we are all tightening our belts after the roller coaster ride that was 2020. Maybe you just need a bit of inspiration to spark your gift buying muscle.

Shop Top Holiday Gifts for Sports Fans

Goal! Team! Spirit! We love sports! We also love, love, love our sports fans. No matter the state of sports attendance this year, we know your dyed-in-the-wool dedicated sports fan would love some great themed sports gifts.

Stocking Stuffers for College Kids

I had a really big holiday stocking which meant lots of good loot! The heavy stuff always slipped down into the toe. There would be, an apple or orange, candy, funny stuff, useful stuff, and one really really good prezzi. Ok so here in Florida there aren’t many fireplaces to hang stockings, nor are there many staircases to hang them from either. So you’ll need to get creative! Let us know where you hang your stockings! While you’re figuring that out shop for some of these great stocking stuffers for your favorite student!

25 Holiday Etsy Gifts

2020 might be the longest and quickest year we’ve endured, and to add to it, we’re almost at the start of the holiday season! The pumpkins are on display and now the turkeys are on their way (didn’t mean to rhyme there, but we love it). Are you wondering what gifts to hide under the tree or next to the menorah? Holiday shopping might be tough this year considering we rarely leave the house, but we’re loving anything personalized these days! Whether jewelry, custom loungewear, or household items, Etsy is our absolute go-to for the holidays!

Benefits of Joining an Alumni Association

Before you know it, you are walking across the stage at graduation, and with that last step, you are officially an alumnus. You may be super excited and a little sad that your college life has essentially ended, but the truth is, you will forever be a part of your college. The first thing that you should do is join the alumnus association.

College Majors to Pursue in Tough Times

I have been writing in the college space for over a decade. The content we often included online addressed future employment opportunities for various majors. Our go-to resource was, and still is, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We would look at specific occupations to find out which ones were the fastest-growing as well as the job outlook for specific industries.

What’s it going to take to get accepted?

Getting Accepted to The College of Your Choice So you want to be an …. Owl, Nole, Gator, Knight, Bull, Osprey, Dawg, Terp, Hoosier, and more. There is so much to consider when choosing what colleges to apply to but, when you get that list together, there are usually one or two that are on top. Most students decide early on that they want to be Nole, Terp, Gator, and so on. The big question is “What is it going to take to get accepted?”  While there are no guarantees, there are definitely specifics that each college looks for. Test scores and high school grades fall into ranges that shift slightly each year depending on who got accepted the year before. These are all estimates, of course, but the statistics provide a clear idea of where you will need to be. Many schools also want to know more about a student than […]

Taking the Campus Tour

You may have already toured some of the colleges your student is considering, but once the acceptances start coming in, students have to make decisions as to where they envision themselves for real. Your students may have specific things that will help them weigh out the pros and cons of each college and they may be rather diverse from the things that you are interested in for them. Either way, taking a tour can help make a big decision.

Writing a College App Essay or Personal Statement

Imagine if colleges could personally interview all their applicants before deciding who will receive an acceptance or a rejection. It will surely give them a better picture of each student; a glimpse at what their grades, test scores, and formal resumes do not show. That is the purpose of the college essay or the personal statement. This is the place to showcase not only your writing skills but to expose a bit of who you are because you are surely far more than numbers. This is one of those rare times in life where you can essentially brag a bit.

Charcuterie Boards Loved by College Kids

When my daughter sent a picture of herself holding up the beautiful charcuterie board she made to share with some friends on her birthday, I admit I was rather surprised. I, or anyone I knew, would never have prepared, or probably known what a charcuterie board was, way back when I went to college. I knew she had a sophisticated palate, but I also liked to believe that the allowance I sent weekly was moderate enough that she was learning to eat on a budget. However, I also learned that charcuterie boards are “a thing” amongst the college sect and they can be put together on a moderate budget. 

Is Grad School the Best Option?

In a recent news story, it was reported that graduate school enrollment may increase in the coming months and years. Not surprised, because it seems like a positive thing for new graduates to do with their idle time if they can’t find a job. We still began to wonder if it is the best option. The truth is, we are all about furthering one’s education. The question; however, still remains as to whether the benefits of additional schooling will outweigh the prospective job opportunities during a) an economic turndown b) the hovering unprecedented times and c) the student’s chosen field. It’s not like grad school is suddenly going to be free; therefore, possibly, requiring student loans.

Graduating in 2020?

Graduating during a pandemic is not at all how I imagined starting my life as an adult. When I was a student at the University of Central Florida, I spent years fantasizing about how my life would be after graduation. I would travel for a few months before jumpstarting my dream career, making a lot of friends along the way. Instead of what I was daydreaming, I got the exact opposite. I couldn’t even finish my senior year of college in person. As soon as I left campus to go home for Spring Break, I never went back. I never got the chance to say celebrate downtown one last time, take my senior pictures, or say goodbye to my very best friends.

Grad School Housing is More Grown Up

Housing for graduate students is quite different than when they were freshmen. Many students switch schools for their graduate studies and that means new housing options. Graduate students generally no longer want to live in party central. Therefore, the usual places students live may be off-limits. There are a few things to consider. Graduate students generally want to live by the health center, law school, or wherever their classes will be. Many prefer to live in a house with roommates as it can more cost-efficient. Mostly, they do not want to live amongst undergraduate students and prefer quiet study-friendly atmospheres.

Deals and Coupons for Savvy Students and Parents

HaveUHeard provides the inside scoop from current students and parents; a been there, done that approach from trusted sources… A place to get information right at your fingertips instead of having to go searching on many other websites. We do an extensive amount of research in answering every question. But, we go the extra mile, bringing our own personal experience and provide practical real-life advice.

Chegg -A Smarter Way to Student®

From textbooks to tutoring, from writing papers to crushing exams, Chegg is A Smarter Way to Student®. This web-based education tech company provides digital and physical textbook rentals, online tutoring, and other student services. As a subscriber, you get access to step-by-step guides, 24/7 homework help, and more. With classes starting out predominantly virtual, it becomes even more important to make sure you have all the tools you need in place to succeed.

More Veggies Please

It seems to me that more people are becoming vegetarians or vegans. I recently tried vegan cheese and am delighted to report that I liked it! HaveUHeard that 1 in every 10 college students follow a vegetarian or vegan diet? It seems college students are more likely than the general public to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, so we wanted to be sure they knew where to locate their options. Veggies are good and good for you. Sometimes the choices on or around campus just aren’t that healthy. So more veggies, please! Whichever way works for your student; the good news there is plenty of veggies around the campuses. 

What is  – FAFSA?

For high school seniors who will not know what school they are attending, you can submit a FAFSA application for schools you are planning on attending and then update your application down the road. If your financial situation has changed since filing a tax return, do not hold off and starting the application process. You can discuss the change in finances with the financial affairs office once you know your student’s school.

Beer, You Don’t Beersay

For college students over the age of 21 and parents visiting their students, many of the college towns have some great breweries. HaveUHeard that the craft beer boom in the United States is growing, with nearly 7500 craft and macro breweries in the U.S. alone? According to this history of craft beers, many of the brews we enjoy today started in a basement or garage of a homebrewer.

Hotels…A Nice Place to Stay

When planning a trip to visit our kids at college one of the first things to get out of the way is making those hotel reservations. If it is a popular weekend, Homecoming, Parent’s weekend, or graduation, booking far in advance is pretty important. However, don’t be surprised if the prices are higher on those weekends. Be sure to ask for the price at your college. There are also other things to take into consideration when booking.

Safest Places to Visit Your Student This Semester

In all likelihood, the spring semester will look similar to the fall semester. Some may accuse me of being a negative Nellie; I prefer to just think of it as being prepared. Are you going to go a whole semester without seeing your student or are you going to strap on your face covering and go? Chances are you are going to visit your student, but truly there is no judgment if you choose not to. I, myself, am still struggling with the decision. If you do go, we got ahead of you and found some of the best and safest places to visit while you’re there. Of course, they are mostly outdoors, but we think that is a bonus. 

Ways to Combat College Loneliness

It’s not new information that college students are entering college with the highest rates of mental health issues in history. Issues related to anxiety, depression, eating disorders and substance abuse are plaguing our students at alarming rates. To add insult to injury, these same students are now having to navigate all of this while isolated and physically alone, due to precautions related to COVID-19. 

Best Coffee Shops at College

There is nothing like a good coffee shop. I’m not talking about the one pictured in countless Seinfeld episodes. I much prefer the one frequented on Friends. In real life, though coffee places have come to be so much more than a place to grab a cup of coffee. Need a place to study alone or with a small group; there are plenty of places around that will make you feel like you are hanging in your living room – without the distraction of your actual living room. Get cozy on the couches, or find one with a big farm table for your study group to gather around.

Top Ways for Students to Connect

The consistent message from students, parents, and many of us during this pandemic is we miss human contact. We are a social society as supported by the number of restaurants, bars, sporting arenas, shopping centers, movie theatres, and other large venues where the masses gather. So, when the pandemic started and we were on lockdown, that human contact came to an abrupt halt. 

Registering to Vote while at College

Students in a new city adapting to a busy college schedule, the voting process can seem daunting. As an 18-year-old freshman, most don’t even know where or how to register or where to go to vote! With an election year coming up, taking the time to go to the polls and vote is more important than ever. So, how can you do it? Each college has places to go for all things voting-related. They offer a variety of information from registering to vote to where to vote on election day, including information for students who are residents of Florida, as well as those from out of state.

Flu Season Ahead 

Nothing makes succeeding at school even harder than when our student gets sick. Forget coronavirus which we know is a possibility. Before this pandemic, the biggest concern was the Flu Season. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, vaccination rates on US college campuses fall well short of the target recommendation. Many colleges offer the flu shot for free with the Florida universities waging a Flu Shot competition last year in the first 4 U’s Fight the Flu- btw UCF won. 

Birthdays, Pick Me Up, Exams… Sweet!

Sweet, we love getting a treat! Is your student heading off to school for the Fall semester, or are you celebrating a special occasion, or do they need a pick me up from time to time as they transition to virtual learning? What’s better than a sweet treat that you can have delivered directly to them to curb that sugar craving and leave them with a smile on their face?

Places of Worship

When students leave for college, many of us wonder how, and if, our students will keep up the tradition of worship. Being able to continue to worship, pray, and adhere to their religious beliefs can be extremely important for several reasons. Having a place to worship on or near campus allows them to meet other students and have a spiritual mentor to turn to should they need guidance. Whether it is their first year away or even their last year, there are many religious challenges students face in college from observing the holidays and traditions that they typically celebrated with their families to finding the time outside of academics to incorporate religion into even losing their faith.

Nature vs Nurture – Great Natural Attractions

In the four years, your student will be at college, you will undoubtedly visit a few times. Often visits center around Parents Weekend or a football game, but HaveUHeard that there is far more to do at each college that may be just as much fun? And a great deal of it can be found outdoors. So the next time you visit, or perhaps your student just needs a little time off-campus, you might want to check out some of the parks, neighboring towns, or sports that aren’t college teams.

A Virtual Career Fair Is Well Worth Your Time

We have all had to get used to a lot of fundamental changes in the past few months in our work, school, and home lives. As we head into the fall semester with so many unknowns, one thing we do know is that the job and internship search for our students is going to be markedly different – indefinitely. And I believe that many of these changes are here to stay well after COVID-19 is in our rearview mirrors.

Stand Out at Your Virtual Career Fair

2020 has seen many changes to the way we go about our daily lives. We now have virtual classes, meetings, Happy Hours, celebrations, court hearings, and more and the list goes on and on. Add to the list are Virtual Fairs at college campuses across the country.

How to Interview Successfully

Few things are more exciting than being granted an interview with a company you are seeking a job with, but few things are also more nerve-wracking than that actual process. What follows is some overall advice to pass along to your children regarding successful interviewing strategies. Think about how you connect the skill you are illustrating to experience with specific examples. 

How To Ask For A Reference Letter

We are all guilty of procrastination from time to time, but what students often forget is how very busy professors, research advisors, and employers actually are in terms of their ability to provide a quick turnaround reference for a last-minute opportunity. I think students also fail to realize how incredibly long it can take to write a valuable reference that might make the difference between getting a job, scholarship, or graduate school position and not getting one. On average, I’d say these can take me anywhere from 1-3 hours. That is a big ask for already-stretched-thin people with multiple time commitments in any given day. 

How Do I Find A Job Or Internship

I cannot stress this point enough: they need to follow up after every contact or application! Amusing personal side story on this note: my son was looking for a job to have while he was in college. I helped him make a nice resume and he targeted restaurants and stores he wanted to work within a half-mile radius of his apartment.

How To Negotiate Your Salary

How exactly do you learn to negotiate? Negotiating anything does not come naturally to most of us, least of all recent graduates from college who are ecstatic just to have a job offer in hand. What follows is some overall advice to pass along to your children regarding how best to negotiate salary offers they receive from employers: First, make a budget for your overall expenses. Then, ask yourself, “What are my value-statements to pose to an employer?

Branding – Why It’s Like A Tattoo For College Students

Tattoo’s you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. They are a symbol, a representation of a generation, of experience, personal expression. College students usually have a few, right? I’m a branding mentor and I think the best way to explain branding to college students is to explain why it’s like a tattoo. Here we go, as a kid, this generation has grown up with the internet, social media, and all the positives and negatives that brings. They aren’t bothered by it and certainly are not afraid of it. They have been working at getting into college, studying and worrying about where this earth is going.

Dress For Success

As they get closer to graduation, one of the greatest changes our students are about to experience is abandoning their shorts, t-shirts and yoga pants, as they begin to dress for success in their new roles, or as my older daughter stated, for adulting. Dressing for success can be daunting in different ways, but the one that stands out most may very well be its cost.

Sorority Girl

Congratulations! Your daughter has found a place to call home even with recruitment being done virtually. And, while their social activities may be limited, being in a sorority opens the door to so many wonderful experiences. I made some of my greatest friends when I was in a sorority at UF. They continue to be a part of my life through all of my ups and downs, good times, and bad. To this day, some of them are among my closest friends. With Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with so many more. We have a tradition of meeting up in Gainesville for football games and sorority reunions and even gather locally to keep the fun and friendship alive.

Is There a Class on Money Budgeting?

The money call came in the fourth week of school when my freshman year roommate got a call from her dad saying that she spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars ever since school started. Trust me that was not a fun conversation to listen to especially since our beds were five feet apart and I literally had no option but too awkwardly listen to the conversation. Let’s just say, she learned how to budget really fast, maybe because her dad threatened to cut off her allowance but I guess we will never know for sure. 

Girls Who Code

I was a Marketing and Communications major at the University of Florida and let me be the first to tell you, there are other classes I would recommend tying into your major. One of these classes would definitely be basic coding. Remember the days when you would use
to customize your Myspace page? If only we kept up with that as it is very useful for your career. Adding a coding certification to your resume will likely grab the attention of employers who may have skipped over your resume without it. Enter Girls Who Code – an organization at universities who teach you how to code, but more in a club setting rather than a classroom.

Cooking At School

With your student heading up to college, you may be asking questions about how they are going to access meals while social distancing, or what appliances they should have so they can cook in the dorm halls. We’ve been trying out some recipes throughout quarantine (because what else is there to do), and have some quick, easy, and delicious meals that don’t need a full kitchen. 


Protecting the Environment One Case at a Time. If you’re the kind of person that constantly drops your phone, it’s probably time you buy a phone case. One that’s actually scratch-proof and water-resistant, and, even better, one that is environmentally conscious. Casetify Phone and Tech Cases have exactly what you are looking for. 

The Dirty Cookie

Cookies? Of Course! HaveUHeard about The Dirty Cookie famous cookie shots? If not, think of a cookie, but shaped in the form of a shot glass. You can fill it with milk, coffee, ice cream, or alcohol (21+), and you can pick a cookie shot in several different flavors! Is there a better way to celebrate your birthday, the end of an exam, or just making it through another week of quarantine? The answer is, OF COURSE NOT! Not sure what to fill them with? They have recipes for everything from cheesecake fillings to banana split pie to Nutella crunch ice cream. I ordered a half-dozen happy birthday cookie shots gift box for my daughter and it was perfect for her to share with her friends. Since they are all over the age of 21, they filled it with alcohol but these are great and fun for those under 21. Please allow […]

Tuition Insurance 

I never heard of tuition insurance before the Coronavirus. Frankly, I never heard of a lot of things that are happening now. Yet, with many students postponing their freshman year until they can enjoy it the usual way, in classrooms, going to parties, football games, meeting new friends, and having roommates with names other than Mom or Dad, some may think that purchasing tuition insurance will give them the protection they need should this pandemic continue for longer than I care to mention. The question is, will tuition insurance do what we would think or hope?

College Colors Day

Every year, College Colors Day is celebrated on the Friday before Labor Day. HaveUHeard how College Colors Day was established? In 2004, it was founded by the College Licensing Company (CLC) as a way to get fans to rep the apparel of their favorite college or university for the day. Yes, the licensing company, which reps over 200 colleges, created this Day of Spirit because most likely they are the licensing company behind many of the branded items you purchase.

Being Thrifty is Really Nifty!

Many college students, as well as parents, are always looking for ways to save money. From shopping for a trendy or professional outfit for a career fair, school function or just to go out to decorating an apartment, thrifting is a hot trend. It is a great way to be economical and stay within a budget. Fortunately, there are many options available for students. Those that have discovered thrifting have found that there are some great bargains and hidden treasures on gently used clothing, furniture, collectibles, and household goods.

Cultural Resources for Hispanic-Latino Students

Campus diversity amongst students has grown considerably over the years and colleges vie to maintain an inclusive atmosphere; allowing all students to gain exposure, perceptions, global awareness, and a willingness to collaborate peacefully and freely. Whether serving as a forum for communication, helping students build strong social networks, or simply in pursuit of a welcoming space amongst other Hispanic or Latino students; your school undoubtedly has a place where you will find your connections.

To Work or Not to Work…

Did you know that about 40% of undergraduate college students work at least 30 hours a week? Some students look at college as their job and are fortunate to not need the additional income while studying, but others work to supplement the allowance their parents generously send or to put themselves through college and pay bills. Students often work on campus while others will find jobs locally. They can check with professors or departments for jobs. This can be a great way to ease into a field of study that may lead to an internship or even a long-term position.

Home Workouts with My Daughters

Are you doing any home workouts during this at-home time? I’ve been home with my young adult daughters since mid-March after having been an empty nester for the past few years. They’re really into working out but without their gym, we’ve learned to make the best at home. Between them training me on workouts and following some workouts on Instagram, I’ve been able to lose some of the unwanted weight that crept up.

Advice We’d Give our Parent-of-a-college-student Self

Sometimes, just having a little advice can be very reassuring. We’ve trained for this moment for about eighteen years and somehow when it gets here, we often feel blindsided. Perhaps, if someone would have told me, well, this… You probably won’t talk every day. Generally, we have found you’re more apt to hear from daughters a bit more than sons. The best time to talk is often on their walk to or from classes. If that call is important to you, you may want to consider how their class schedule works on your own. However; do not sit by the phone.

Advice They’d Give Their Freshman Self

You only get to be a freshman in college once, so before you go, our interns want to share some advice. While none of them know what it is like to start college during a pandemic and that will create a unique set of circumstances, you will still have some great experiences. The beginning of your first year in college is overwhelming, stressful, but most importantly exciting. Looking back, you want to have the best memories and have made the year something you will keep with you for the rest of your life.

Dealing with Uncertainty

A lot is out of our control and many facets of our lives are being impacted including school, work, finances, socializing, and travel. Waiting in limbo can create a lot of stress, anxiety, fear, and depression, and that may leave some in unchartered territories on how to cope. Be gentle with yourself, but also acknowledge that you are already navigating this; you are building resiliency and you did not even realize it!

Mental Health Issues in College Students

College students are gearing up for yet another school year but now with a whole lot more uncertainty than students past. Terms with the words “crisis” and “epidemic” are being used by top experts to describe the mental health challenges American college students are facing. A 2018 and 2019 student survey conducted by the American College Health Association (ACHA) indicated that approximately 60% of students felt “overwhelming” anxiety, and 40% felt severe depressive symptoms that interfered with daily functioning.

Cares Act Information

Under the CARES ACT enacted on March 27th, 2020,  higher education institutions received funds to support students and higher education institutions with expenses and financial aid needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If your student needs additional financial assistance after exhausting all other options, they should apply online at their school’s online resources. Students with existing FAFSA applications are being given priority.

If The Shoe Fits…

I know the football season is a bit up in the air right now – I don’t know about you, but my team is still planning to play so far! If they don’t play, I still want to show my team spirit. Regardless, the shoe launch is definitely an opportunity, as its a top seller each year! Here are the details so you don’t miss out!

Student Discounts – Money Saving Resources

Student discounts… they are everywhere but many students forget to ask. I recall many times when we were in a store and I nudged my daughters to ask if they offered a student discount. After the obligatory eye roll, they asked and learned yes they do; unfortunately, it required them to have their student ID with them so they did not get the discount.

FERPA Explained

What is FERPA? One thing we parents don’t like losing is control, and when our kids go to college, we lose a LOT of it. Once they leave the nest, we don’t often know where they are or who they are with, if they are going to class, if they are up all night, if they are eating or exercising. But what we do know is that we can’t see their grades unless they fill out FERPA-compliant paperwork allowing us to do so, and even then, most universities have separate teaching platforms for classes versus student records so you aren’t really seeing much beyond their overall transcript.

Here’s One for the Books, College Textbook Info

Books average around $1000 annually (These figures are averages and will vary from student to student and university to university.They are indirect costs not billed by the university). Now that students are getting ready to return to school, the reality begins. The whole reason they are at college is to learn and take classes, meaning they will need to have the necessary tools to do so, including books. Textbooks can be very expensive, so it is important to make informed decisions when picking out books to buy or rent.

What Are Your Legal Rights With Your Student?

It was close to 10 p.m. when I received the call from my daughter, now a junior in college, that she had fallen during an intramural soccer game and was pretty sure she broke her elbow. Her friend was driving her to the emergency room. Here I was, over 350 miles away, it was late at night and I would not be able to do much of anything but worry. I told her to put me on speakerphone when she saw a doctor so I could hear what was going on. I had not given any thought to the fact that my daughter was over 18 years of age, so legally, I was not entitled to the same level of information, or access, that I had been for her first 18 years.

How Will Students Stay Safe & Sane at College

Safe, sane, and happy? As colleges devise plans to reopen in the fall, they are also coming up with ways to keep our students safe, sane and healthy. However, no matter what rules they come up with and how many masks they distribute; students have to adhere to them if they are going to be effective. Sadly, as soon as the bars opened in one college town; they were packed with mask-free college students desperate for some long-awaited fun, and within a week, students started to test positive for Covid19.

Shopping Guide for the New Student -2021

Shopping for your soon-to-be college student is exciting, exhausting, and expensive. HaveUHeard how much there is to shop for? What you may need for your dorm depends on where you’ll be staying. In some dorms, because of the communal bathrooms, you won’t need a shower mat or shower curtain but in suite-style dorms and apartments, you will need to add this to your list.

Colleges are Talking About Learning Terms, What are They?

When my oldest started college, there were all sorts of terms that began floating in and out of our conversations that led me directly to Google. Years later, the new terminology keeps coming particularly now, with so many changes to how our college students are learning. There are quite a few words and phrases that have become commonplace that can be helpful to know especially as universities determine how classes will be delivered in the fall.

Let Them Eat Cake! Not really though!

Under normal circumstances, many of us have seen firsthand how often our kids were getting sick once they were at college. We chalked it up to many factors including lack of sleep, being around other people who are sick, lack of exercise, late-night hours… and not eating healthy. As students head back to campus, there has never been a more important time for students to try to make good decisions so they stay healthy, so no cake, okay?

Diversity and Inclusion for LGBTQ College Students

College can be challenging for all students which is why finding ways to make connections with others who identify similarly can make a big difference. Although LGBTQ PRIDE is becoming more prevalent, the LGBTQ community often face additional pressures or concerns. The majority of college campuses today offer resources and information about support systems available to both help navigate the college environment and make connections in a group setting.

Campus Resources for Students of Color

Campus diversity amongst students has grown over the years and most colleges acknowledge the need to honor African America College groups. Colleges also propose to create campuses that maintain an inclusive atmosphere; allowing all its students to gain exposure, perceptions, global awareness, and a willingness to collaborate peacefully and freely. College campuses strive to support their black organizations and students.

College Majors to Pursue

Students usually choose their majors over a period of time. I have always been a fan of taking a variety of classes until you find the ones that you enjoy most and choosing your majors around that. However; in these unprecedented times, students might want to take recent events into consideration when choosing a major. As with any major event, such as a recession, war, or, in this case, a pandemic, there is a shift in what type of degree a student may want to consider pursuing.

Jobs That May Pay for Your Student Loan

Imagine getting your student loans paid off. It may sound too good to be true, but HaveUHeard if you work for a certain amount of time in a job with student loan forgiveness options, you could get your loan balance canceled? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a job that you plan to stick with for the rest of your life, although that would be great too; however, the experience these jobs could provide can also beef up a resume for later.

College in the Fall

Right about now our high school seniors should be attending graduation parties and beginning their shopping sprees to fill the dorm rooms of whichever college they decided on. However, these unprecedented times – are you as tired of that term as I am – have put another decision on our plates.

Saying Goodbye at College Drop Off

The moment you say Goodbye… One by one the Freshmen arrive at college ready to take the next step in their journey.  Goodbye is something we’ll have to face. We knew this day would come, but when they started packing, the reality started to truly peek through. If you are as brave as I was, you will keep a stiff upper lip as you help them unpack, organize and make their beds. No matter how far in advance you planned, leave time on drop-off day should you need to run to the nearest store. The moment you say goodbye… Well, here’s my first bit of advice: wear big sunglasses to mask the tears. Then when you get in the car, you can really let it flow. Yes, you can be happy for them as they take this next step, but the loss you feel is real and nothing to be ashamed of. […]

The First Few Weeks at College

We completed the drop. We unloaded the car in the treacherous Florida heat and we set up their rooms. The bed was made, everything had been put away and it only took two trips to Target for things we didn’t realize we would need. We said our see-ya-laters and shed the appropriate amount of tears. It was when I got into the car without our new college freshman, all the advice we meant to give them about those first few weeks lay dormant somewhere between the big lump in my throat and my empty heart. Forgive me if I sound dramatic, but the truth is there is a great deal to be said at that time. Whether or not they take to heart is another story. Perhaps starting the conversation a few weeks before drop-off is a better idea. Getting Started Those first few weeks of college are a crucial time for […]

Managing College Chaos, When to Intervene

I tend to see certain patterns throughout any given semester in my office. Leading into the first round of exams is always total chaos. And finals. Total chaos, particularly in the spring. Students get very worked up about their performance and how to juggle so many things at once since most exams seem to fall during the same weeks for all their classes (week 3, week 6, etc).

First Semester Expectations for your Student

As their first semester gets underway, you may have some new questions or concerns. We, at HaveUHeard, are real parents of real college kids and we know we certainly did. For instance, why do they seem like they are struggling academically when they got such good grades in high school? Where can they go to get some tutoring? How can they deal with stress at college? So, for all the things that Orientation did not answer, we hope we can help.

Apply for Scholarships

To get a scholarship you have to apply for scholarships! There are so many to choose from and some pitfalls. We have the info for you! If you have Florida Prepaid and your student was fortunate to qualify for Bright Futures, that will help pay for a lot of college expenses. Our daughters had both (Bright Futures changed its payout from 2010-2014 so we did not get as much as our second daughter did). There were many more college expenses that were not covered by them having both.

A Perfect 10

We know that college is complicated and getting all of the answers can be daunting, frustrating, and stressful. Some of us rely on our students sharing information with us, some will spend time searching the college website or the parent pages and some will even call the school. We get it because we are also parents of college students who had so many of what we have come to refer to as “huh?” moments.

Sorority Recruitment: What to Expect & What to Wear

I remember my daughters going through sorority recruitment. The first one was convinced that her outfit selections were the reason she got dropped from many of the houses. That is very hard to hear from your daughter especially when you have spent much of their lives trying to teach them that beauty comes from within. I did not want them so focused on brands or trying to dress in a way that was not representative of who they were. But, recruitment is one of those times when you are judged on appearances.

Want to Get Back The Security Deposit?

There is a way to get the security deposit back but it will require a little effort, here is how we can help you. I have personally been through four dorm move-outs (summer and fall for two daughters) and six apartment move-outs not to mention our bloggers. And yes, there have been plenty of move out charges ranging from the burned desk chair in her dorm room (courtesy of a hair appliance), to dirty stovetop drip pans (yes some apartment managers will charge you for that).

Student Loans During COVID-19 

Loans and COVID, here’s how to navigate… On top of everything else in this crazy COVID world, you are worried about student loans. Here are some answers to questions you might have. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act enables you to pause payments on federal student loans. In fact, payments on federal student debt are suspended from March 13, 2020, to September 30, 2020. You do not have to do anything to qualify for this administrative forbearance as it is automatic. And, no interest on your loans will accrue during the time period when payment obligations are suspended. This stimulus package relief applies only to federal student loans, though. If you have private student loans, you’re still obligated to pay them. You will want to contact your student loan servicer for emergency options available to you. If you’re looking to save money, you may want to research refinancing options, which are […]

Grocery Stores

Even though you think these things should go without saying, we know our kids sometimes need some reminders. On-campus or off, meal plans, or not, your student will need to get groceries at some point in time. Most campuses have a fair amount of grocery stores close to campus and some even provide transportation to and from them. Some stores have an app to pre-shop to save time. And most today have apps that offer special discounts and exclusive deals, so make sure your student takes advantage of this and downloads them!

Safety Nets for Students

These unprecedented times, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have left some students facing new challenges. The colleges recognize this and are updating their websites to offer additional information and offer a safety net for students. Like the news, the material changes rapidly and HaveUHeard is doing its best to pass along resourceful and factual information.

How to Excel With Online and Virtual Classes

Online and distance learning is not a new concept at colleges. Even high schools required students to have an online class to become familiar with this type of learning. What has changed is that almost all colleges and universities have moved to virtual classrooms until further notice. Some say two weeks, some for the remainder of the semester. Almost all universities have systems in place to handle the unique environment we are in and they are continually updating students and staff.

Food for Thought – College Student Dilemma

As college campuses throughout the country move to virtual classrooms, the fact remains that there are students at college that will remain in their university town. Perhaps they are unable to work or perhaps their finances are strained. No matter the reason, there are resources available both on and off-campus for food pantries. While they are currently limiting how many people can access the pantry, many are remaining open. If the university does not have an on-campus food bank, they certainly have community food banks.

Online Test Taking for College Students

Online test-taking can solve many issues. Many students have experienced taking exams throughout the semester in allocated classrooms all across the university due to large volumes of students taking the same exam at the same time. For example, in some classes, there may be at least 300 students. It would be impractical to attempt to test that many students in one room without chaos or the threat of major cheating. Thus, several smaller classrooms must be reserved to spread out all 300 students taking the exam.

This can also be a long and tedious process, and classrooms are not always available because they are already in use. To avoid this situation, many teachers opt to use online testing services. Simply put, they are live online proctoring services that allows students to take exams on their computers. Proctors hired, use a specific protocol to replicate the face-to-face proctoring experience through the internet. Through this virtual process, proctors can see the student, see what they are doing on their computer screen, and monitor their testing environment. Because of their adherence to high accreditation standards within the industry, most of these proctoring services are used among colleges throughout the country. Our interns share info on setting up their online service and some best chance at success tips. Read more…

Minimizing Risk for Collegiate Women on Campus

Safety for Collegiate Women, What’s the Risk? There is a lot of talk about safety on college campuses right now, and rightfully so. The risk seems right around the corner. With more reports of sexual assault, recreational drug use, and hazing deaths, it’s no wonder parents have concerns about sending their kids off into these environments without curfews and social supervision. According to College Moxie’s focus-group feedback from thousands of collegiate women nationwide, female students (perhaps now more than ever) need parents and mentors who will listen to and support them without judgment. They crave a safe space to talk about their “stuff” and recognize a need for face-to-face connection with their peers and mentors that allows for that. Shame and perceived judgment are severe impactors of women, and this often results in women trying to work through things alone. To further complicate matters, these women also made it clear that “adult” […]

Tapestry Girls

One of the best and most exciting parts about attending college is getting to live in a dorm. The freedom of being away from your parents is incredibly liberating, and even though space may be small, it’s all yours. Now it’s time to put your personal touch on the room. Decorating your dorm room is a fantastic way to quickly make your new home feel just as inviting as the one you came from.

The Container Store

The Container Store has grown to be the leading specialty retailer of storage and organization products in the United States and the only national retailer solely devoted to the category. With locations from coast to coast, their stores average 25,000 square-feet and offer more than 10,000 innovative products. They’re not just selling empty boxes; our time-saving solutions allow us to give our customers the promise of organized life.

Go Coastal Studios, Lovely Watercolors

Finding a unique gift – whether it be a graduation, birthday, or for their home – can be tough; however, Melissa Rinaldi has made it easy. Her company, Go Coastal Studios, brings the tropical feel of going to or having gone to college in Florida to her creative and personalized artwork. Her university watercolors as maps, which will brighten any dorm or a new home for an alumnus or grad announcements, are spectacular.


For the very best in authentic college clothing, accessories, and other fan gear, check out Fanatics NCAA Shop. They’ve got everything you need to cheer on your team with everything from gifts and collectibles to championship gear.


Creating Work and Study Home Space from Etsy With quarantine being the norm these days, working or studying from home is a challenge we’re all facing during these times. Suddenly the house seems more crowded and everyone is having zoom calls and meetings on speakerphones. We’re here to help make this a comfortable transition for you and your family by setting up a home or study office that is bound to put your household at ease by creating a peaceful setting with the help of Etsy. How can you turn your personal space into a workspace to increase productivity while also ensuring you can separate work from your downtime? It’s a question that many people are currently asking. We’ve mapped out an easy and cost-efficient way to do so by bringing you our suggestions from Etsy. What we love about Etsy, besides their prices, is that it consists of a community of […]

Greetabl, more than a card.

I was introduced to Greetabl when I received this adorable, small box that was personalized with HaveUHeard from one of our employees. It was their way of saying they appreciated us and included a small token gift. Since then, I have recommended this company to many friends as well as sending my own Greetabl to my daughters. Whether it is sending a little something to say thank you, or perhaps, during midterms, or when they feel sick, or for their birthday, or just because you want them to know you’re thinking of them; it doesn’t have to be big to have a cheery impact.

Professionalism in Written Communication 

As students head into summer internship/job fair season, it is important that they keep in mind the importance of what employers refer to as “soft skills.” This includes (but is not limited to): working with others, ethical judgment and decision making, analytical thinking, organizing and evaluating information, innovation and creativity, complex problem-solving, diversity awareness, and written and oral communication.

Impactful Books for Young Adults

Impactful books for mom and dads too! I am that mother, that aunt; that friend, that sister, that always sends books as gifts. I mean, books don’t go out of style, can be read and reread, and may very well be filled with anything from adventure, philosophy, emotion, and imagination. What other gifts can you give that may have all that and more? Giving books to recent graduates, or young adults that may have a little more time on their hands these days may actually impact their lives as they begin their new journey is one of my favorite gifts.

Money Money Money

If you have a student in college, we are sure that sometimes (or perhaps all the time), you feel like you are a financial institution, giving money to your students to help offset the cost of college. That would not make you alone as, according to the Pew Research Center, three in 5 parents with children between 18 and 29 have given their kids some financial help in the last year including assistance with bills and groceries, education costs, and rent or mortgage.

Celebrating Your Student’s “Quarantine” Birthday

We have addressed birthday ideas when your student was away at college. It was one of those milestones that served as another reminder that we wouldn’t be celebrating together. But today, birthday plans are changing because of the quarantine. We’re here to help you make sure your student’s birthday is still one to remember and puts a smile on their face. From friendly drive-bys and honking horns to turning your house into a night out, the creative juices are flowing from all over the world.

The Stress…Happens to All

Every college is on top of being there for students when things can get emotionally rocky. They offer various programs, resources, counseling, workshops, training; most of which are free to our students. Each school has its own counseling programs; some of which can be done online. There are often presentations that address various topics that may cause stress for college students. Often, colleges help students prepare for exams by offering relaxation techniques right when they are needed most.

Getting a Virtual Feel for Your Student’s Campus

We are living in a rapidly changing world, hoping that eventually, fall will bring move-ins, classes, college sports, and normalcy. Campus tours to help students make their college decision have been put on hold. Orientation will likely be virtual at many universities. These are unusual and unprecedented times and circumstances continue to evolve daily.

Learning About Your University

It looks like these unprecedented times mean that just about everything these days is online. That would include Orientation for freshmen and their parents. However, there is a lot of we can help you learn and hopefully answer some questions that Virtual Orientation for your university may not.

Financial Aid in Turbulent Times

Never have any of us imagined, as a country and world, that we would be going through a financial and health crisis such as Coronavirus. For most of us, the impact it has had, not only on our own personal finances but the entire change in our students’ lives, are far-reaching. We all want the best for them and so many questions have arisen that HaveuHeard is going to address the most asked questions.

Complaints about a Class or Professor?

All of our kids have certain expectations before they go to college about what it will be like academically. They ask themselves if they will transition smoothly given the rigor of their high school curriculum. They wonder if they have the tools necessary to succeed in the higher ed environment. Some make assumptions that it won’t even be a transition because they feel so ready. The reality of what they encounter is seldom what they anticipated on multiple levels.

A Letter to Seniors 

I wanted to reach out to all of you seniors about how COVID-19 is specifically affecting you, the Class of 2020. I hate to use a colloquialism as an English major and teacher, but there’s no way around saying that this sucks beyond belief for you all more than most. In my many sleepless nights this past week, I have been reflecting on my own senior year at Penn State – where I was and what I was doing and who I was with. It seems insurmountable to conceive of missing out on all those moments and memories that I carry with me to this day.

Changes to Jobs or Internships?

The world is full of changes in our patterns of life. These are certainly uneasy times that will certainly be part of our world history. Each day brings more uncertainty and changes for all of us. We’ve seen the posts from family members, friends, and other parents of college students about their student losing their internship or job. Having graduation ceremonies canceled or postponed was a difficult pill to swallow but now some of our students have lost internships that were required for their degree and jobs they had lined up after graduation.

Backyard Tailgate!

As we are quarantined, many have discovered fun ways to spend our days. From family Olympics to our own obstacle courses using household items, it is reminiscent of the days when we made up our own games using only our imaginations and whatever we could rummage up in the house. Being a sports family, we truly missed spring training and opening day of baseball, spring football debut of our favorite college teams, and of course, all the sports that would normally be taking place.

So why not try to bring the sports back into your own home and throw a backyard tailgate to support your favorite team? We’ve got you covered with cornhole sets, pop up table tennis sets, four-game set, hook and ring games, target practice games, tumble towers, and more. Enjoy great savings, support your favorite team, and make some family memories with your own backyard tailgate. Click by the school or see college games in general. Read more…

Fanatics NFL Face Masks for All!

We are all going to have to wear them… so you might as well make it FUN! Get your social distancing masks with your favorite NFL or MLB team so you can show your spirit! Be responsible and have some personality with your face mask showing exactly which team is yours. HaveUHeard features Fanatics! They have your favorite NFL and MLB teams on face masks.

Fanatics MLB Face Masks

Get your social distancing masks with your favorite NFL or MLB team so you can show your spirit! Be responsible and have some personality with your face mask showing exactly which team is yours. HaveUHeard features Fanatics! They have your favorite NFL and MLB teams on face masks.

Colleges Move to Virtual Classrooms 

Now that the State University System of Florida has asked all universities to switch to remote virtual instruction as soon as possible, many parents have questions about how certain classes will be able to instruct. As much as we all wish everything would go back to normal, we at HaveUHeard feel strongly that in the context of infectious disease, the use of quarantine and isolation to reduce the transmission of disease and protect the health of the public requires that we all be socially responsible.

SCORE! Team Accessories

Realizing that clear doesn’t need to be plain and ordinary, SCORE! has reinvented the approach to official game day bags. Every bag is designed with a focus on quality and fashion, meeting the evolving tastes, needs, and lifestyles of the American woman. As a certified, women-owned enterprise based in San Antonio, Texas, they embrace the passion and love women have for their favorite teams, schools and organizations as well as, their need to express them with stylish accessories.

The David Project

It’s true that Birthright is a fabulous (and free) program for Jewish individuals from 18 to 28 to visit Israel. Israel, however, is not just for Jews though. So, we did a little digging and found The David Project, a pro- Israel campus advocacy group. The program promotes building diverse pro-Israel support on campuses and is for students of all religions, having reached 10,000 Jewish and non-Jewish students this past academic year on 45 campuses, cultivating student leaders and organizations as allies for Hillel and the pro-Israel community.

Inked by Dani Temporary Tattoo

Want a tattoo but don’t want to commit to a design? Hand-drawn in NYC by artist and founder Dani Egna, INKED by Dani is an elevated, sophisticated take on the temporary tattoo craze. With our signature, on-trend style, and worldwide fan base, INKED by Dani is redefining temporary tattoos into a whole new world of fashion-forward, wearable art. Their designs are unique, fashion-forward, and the perfect way to express yourself – without the commitment!

They’re Coming Home for Summer

They have been away for a year, maybe two or three, but this summer they are planning to come home. Many of you may be thinking how nice it will be to have them home; perhaps it will be even better than before they left for college because now they are more mature having lived on their own for so long. Do you sense the cynicism coming? Relax; I too got excited when each of mine came home for those ten weeks.

Join Our HUH Blogger Team!

Are you an “IRL” (in real life) mom of a college student at one of the new schools we plan to be adding? Join the HaveUHeard team. HaveUHeard is a blog written by moms of college students or college students themselves at multi-state universities. We are the only detailed resource for parents looking for information about their student’s college town.

Is Your Student Moving Back Home After Graduation?

Moving back in with your parents after college is not new. I moved back home after graduating from UF for many reasons, the main being financial. My parents even charged me rent (scroll down to see how much that was and how they handled it) So, when our daughter graduated from college without a job, she moved back home with us. We were nervous and she was nervous. Our concerns mainly centered around how her new independent self would take to living back home with rules. Should we have rules? Should we charge her? Will she go back to helping around the house?

Does Your Student Get Assignments on “Breaks?” 

Assignments on Breaks are Breaking Me! Why do their professors do this the one time I get to see them all year? By Priscilla Beth Baker Here’s a common scenario when your child comes home for Thanksgiving, spring break, or even just the weekend – you barely see them because they are either streaming Netflix, sleeping, seeing high school friends, or buried in writing papers, assignments, or prepping for exams. The “quality time” you were hoping for? Not so much. The best you can hope for is sometimes a 20-minute family dinner that you spent 90 minutes preparing where everyone utters monosyllables and gets up in a flurry of non-gratitude and even less help. The Norman Rockwell rendition of the family dinner you envisioned all those weeks your child was away is rarely ever the case. You can probably embrace the first three activities they are engaging in while they are home […]

Searching for Scholarships, here are our suggestions!

Almost as soon as the first acceptance to college came in, so did the idea of actually having to pay for their tuition and room and board. When they were small it was something we always envisioned we would do and planned accordingly. With so many scholarships available today, the trick is finding the ones that suit your student’s needs and that they will qualify for. Some scholarships are quite competitive, some last for four years, and some are downright silly, but pay for something. All make those bills for the next four (or more) years more bearable.

Destination Dorm Room Helps Students

With Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching, many of us will be celebrating the holidays over a festive meal with our college kids and family. But not everyone is so fortunate. This season, HaveUHeard is sharing the story of Destination Dorm, a scholarship program for graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence in the midst of financial hardship.

College Apartments Top Ten List

Combined, our mom bloggers have put, and are still putting, well over ten kids through college. They’ve lived in dorms, apartments, and houses. We’ve gone through the “There’s a waiting list to get in so we have to sign today” to “It’s the only place my friends want to live.” And we indulged them because we wanted them to live in an apartment that was safe and felt like home (that was probably more for us than them).

Preparing for the “Unknown of College”

What an Academic Advisor Wants You to Know About the Unknown by Priscilla Beth Baker Many people have asked me recently what we as parents can do to better prepare our kids for college and being on their own. I think the “unknown” of college makes it an incredible stressor for both kids and their parents. My husband refers to it as “the black box.” You send your kid to this unknown black box and don’t have a real sense of what’s going on there, so we, as parents, look for opportunities to get a glimpse of what that looks like. It’s those unknowns of, “What will it be like? Will I make friends? Am I academically prepared? Will I be successful? Do I need to know what I am going to do for the rest of my life right now? What should I have done before now? What could I have […]

What to Expect From the Transition to College

Congratulations! Your baby is becoming an adult. Did that sentence make you a little queasy? Sending your student off to college is bittersweet. For that matter, being a parent is bittersweet. It’s a constant tug of war amongst your emotions. On the one hand, you’re bursting with pride when your precious one meets milestones (you know, like high school graduation) and on the other, you’re saddened that they are growing up too fast (like heading off to college). College is an amazing opportunity for your student. It’s an outstanding place for your student to blossom from the teenager that’s been eating all of your food and keeping you up at night to an emerging adult poised to go out into the world and experience greatness. But like any new phase of life, the transition from high school to college, from teenager to emerging adult, from dependent to independent is full of growing […]

College Ave – Loans Made Easy!

College Ave – Loans Made Easy! Whether you’re a parent or a student looking for a loan, College Avenue and HaveUHeard are here for you. We know getting loans is scary and complicated, so we partnered with College Avenue to provide you with an awesome connection. They built their private student loans to double-major in support and simplicity so it would be as painless as possible for you. Put their useful tools, faster application, and flexible loan options to the test. Apply online in 3 minutes and get an instant credit decision Free to apply and no disbursement fees Several repayment choices – and help to make sense of them Competitive variable and fixed-rate options1 Student loans available to graduate, bachelors and associates degrees A student loan designed for you. Take the stress out of paying for college by creating a private student loan that fits your budget and your goals. With […]

Dorm Vault

One more thing to worry about, is the stuff safe? Right up there with the call from my college daughter that she lost her phone, keys, student ID, (fill in the blank)

Advice to Parents from an Academic Advisor

Advice to Parents from an Academic Advisor by Priscilla Beth Baker Having had no less than 12 students (male and female) sob in my office in the past 3 weeks, this is a public service announcement to all my friends out there who have just sent or are soon to send their kids to college… Most of you know that I serve as an Academic Advisor at Virginia Tech. It puts me in the unique position of witnessing firsthand a lot of what most of you only speculate about higher ed and the college experience today. I am here to tell you that it is NOT the same as when we went to school, and that is for a variety of reasons. In my mind, it is a perfect storm of (1) high schools engaging in massive grade inflation and not fully preparing our kids for what lies ahead; (2) our generation’s […]

Meal Plans

One of the many decisions you and your student will make is about the meal plan. With college right around the corner, I see you fearfully envisioning your student’s diet as one of just burgers, pizza, and fries, oh my! Yes, we have been making meals for our kids for as long as we can remember. (So, quite frankly, we might welcome a break.)  And yes, some of our kids have learned how to cook and even to enjoy doing so. But most have come to rely on their meals being ready the minute you yell “Dinnertime!”  NOW what will happen?

Teaching Them to Budget during College

Three times the charm. Well, I suppose that isn’t fair; all three of my kids are charming and adorable. The difference is that not all three are very good with money and frankly I blame myself a little for that. I am not one to preach, but since you asked, the best advice I would give to a parent of a new college student is to give them a budget and make them stick to it.

Types of Student Loans

The Department of Education loans money for school and it is imperative for your student to understand that student loans should not be used for frivolous spending. Trust me, I learned the hard way. The loans and interest (depending on the type of loan you have) add up very quickly. Repayment of said loans can be a huge monthly cost; therefore, understanding all the terms of student loans is, in my opinion, essential.

First Time Student Loan Borrower?

If you are completing entrance counseling to borrow a loan as an undergraduate student, then the entrance counseling will fulfill counseling requirements for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. If you are completing entrance counseling to borrow a loan as a graduate or professional student, the entrance counseling will fulfill counseling requirements for Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS loans.


This is not high school where a student can often coast by; succeeding at University level requires taking classes seriously. At the same time, there are many other opportunities to get involved and enjoy these four years including football games, Greek life, and outdoor activities. A student needs to be able to balance all of this which can prove daunting to many. But since they have such a selective admissions process, the understanding is that many of these students have already been faced with balancing academics and social and civic activities.

If your student mentions they are having difficulty, there are many places to turn including speaking with their professor or teacher assistant. There are also peer academic study groups. For many classes, students are turning to outside assistance. Read more…

Get Involved!

Joining a club helps your students build a community and network. Meeting people will help their transition into college go smoother and these connections and friendships can last forever. Joining clubs and organizations allows students to discover their passions and strengths, and to make connections for future resumes and employment.

Career Fairs & Internships

Fall and spring semester career and internship fairs serve as a springboard to planning for the future. Students who have not yet secured a job or internship may start considering their options. For students who are graduating in the fall or spring that have not secured a job, this is an opportunity to meet recruiters and interact in person before a full formal interview.

Sick at School

Almost as soon as the first acceptance to college came in, so did the idea of actually having to pay for their tuition and room and board. When they were small it was something we always envisioned we would do and planned accordingly.

Preparing for Grad School Exams

To apply to graduate school, students must fill out the online application for the university and submit an application fee. Once accepted, there is an orientation For many programs, this is required and you will hear from faculty, staff, and former students about graduate life.  There will be specific orientations for different colleges as well. As for the exams required for admittance to graduate school, the Graduate Studies office can also provide information on test prep, tutoring, and any programs offered to help obtain required scores.  Most universities offer graduate exam test-prep services.

Credit Cards for College Students

What Every Student Should Know Recently, I told my daughter to go pay something with a check. She responded by asking me if she had those somewhere. She literally had never written one. In the days of Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, debit, and credit cards, many people, students included, just don’t seem to carry cash anymore and checks are becoming more and more archaic. Credit cards, though, can be scary for students; particularly when they see the word “limit” and somehow skip over the fact that those balances have to get paid. Given that we made some serious errors with our oldest regarding money management, we decided to approach things differently with young adult #3. As she entered her sophomore year, we actually encouraged her to get a credit card. We began by explaining the reasons why: Establish credit Learn to manage money Provide ease and convenience when paying for things Take […]

Storage for Their College Stuff

I remember my daughter’s freshman year. I drove up to get her and when we finished packing the car with barely enough room for our bodies and the car feeling as though it was skimming the pavement, I wondered if her belongings seemed to multiply over the past 10 months. Then when we began unloading everything into the garage, sorting out what could stay in our hot garage for the summer and what needed to find space in the house, I became a bit flustered. Well, not panicky, but I did begin to dream of those people that come to your home and teach you to purge.

A Very Dangerous Place for a Child Is College

A Very Dangerous Place for a Child Is College by Dr. Louis M. Profeta  “Colleges should do this and colleges should do that, everyone says?” I walked across the front of the auditorium, stopped and faced the two hundred young men who had invited me to their fraternity house to speak. “Really?” I paused some more. “Colleges are supposed to do what… protect you from you?” It was a simple question, one they perhaps had not thought about in a world where some modern parenting involves hermetically sealing the previous 18–20 years of their lives from anything that could possibly hurt them. In reality, some of their parents—people who love them the most—were setting them up for academic failure, a lifetime of addiction … and even worse … their death. “It’s the incoming freshmen that cause most of the problems,” the upperclassman told me as he walked me to my car. “They come […]

Away for the High Holidays

Generally, our kids get to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for those who celebrate the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, it may be your first one without your students at your holiday table. While it may feel strange having that empty seat, it can feel better to know that they are celebrating the high holidays with a new community of their peers. You may want to let them know they exist and then hope that they will choose to participate.

Where The Wind Blows…Storms!

The quote, “it’s all in the preparations” is true when it comes to Florida storms. It is so easy to become complacent when you’ve been through so many storms, preparing for the worst, and then having a storm turn the other way at the last minute. You’ll hear, “it won’t hit here” a lot. 24-hour broadcasts and weather forecasters getting excited can create a sense of panic and second-guessing. And if your student is from another state, panic can become elevated, especially for the parents at home.

Smash Stress! Send Exam Care Packages

To Help Ease Their Stress During Exam Week Midterm and finals can be some of the biggest stressors for your student. Don’t expect too many calls from your students during exams. I typically do not speak to my daughter during finals or exam weeks. My calls usually get a “sorry I cannot talk right now” text response followed by an “I’m at the library mom” text. I also know that she is not going to eat healthily and probably going to consume any form of caffeine she can get whether it is coffee or energy drinks and late-night snacks most likely consisting of pizza and junk. Everything from eating habits to sleep habits, from study skills to exercise changes during exam time. I hate to say it but I had my share of all-nighters when I went to UF and, no matter how good a student you may have, when there is […]

Why are we writing this informative blog?

Here’s why… Over the course of the four years, our kids were at college, we had so many “I wish I would have known,” or as we commonly refer to as “huh?” moments starting their freshman year and all through their graduation. This included “We wish we would have known when to book a hotel for a football game, we wish we would have known where to send our kids when they were sick; we wish we would have known what the good local places to order cupcakes for their birthday since we would not be there, and the list goes on and on. So our why are we doing this? To make the way easier for other parents. As working parents, we did not have the time to search for information inside and outside the walls of UCF and UF yet alone get answers from our kids. A few years into […]

Pivoting to Adapt this Summer

Many of your kids are understandably worried about not being able to get jobs after graduation or internships related to their majors this summer due to COVID-19. Some companies are holding off on hiring decisions, switching to “virtual” jobs or internships, outright canceling internships due to budget cuts, or sometimes just sending money out to students whose internships were canceled. Some summer and fall co-ops will hopefully start late if things are more or less back to normal in time for the Fall semester.

Graduation Tips for the Seriously Graduating!

Remember how when our kids were little we couldn’t envision them leaving us and going off to college? Now, if you are like me, you can’t believe how quickly the time went. It continues to rush by and before you know it, college graduation will be here. The very first tip is for students to check that they meet all of the requirements for graduation. Each school has a checklist and students have deadlines to apply for graduation. They know that so this should not be left until the last minute.

Study Abroad Programs for Students

I am a big believer in this adage. Apparently many students agree as Study Abroad programs have become increasingly popular. When researching this topic I was amused to read not only a plethora of information about the various things to look for in a program but also some amusing blogs written by students about how to convince one’s parents to allow them to study abroad. Well, this parent is sold.

Out-of-State Internship? Now where will they live?

Did they get an out-of-state internship? Both of my daughters had internships during the summer between their junior and senior years. And both ended up interning in New York City. Since they did not get their internship until early Spring, some of their housing options were quite limited. And, not being familiar with interning out of state, we grabbed what was available.

Interning in New York City, here’s where to stay.

Ok, I am a little partial. I am a born and bred New Yorker, living in S. Florida for 25 plus years, and I still love it. And so do many of our students, which is why New York is so popular for summer internships. They will need a place to live. Where to look for housing? There are many options. Most interning students live in dorms in various colleges throughout the city. Space is limited, and demand is high.

Moving Out Already?

For some, the process of moving in is easier than moving out.  When your student moves in, they neatly pack their items in a suitcase. Their towels, sheets, comforters, and décor are new, clean and many times still in its original packaging.  Moving out? Not the case. Items are shoved in garbage bags, clothing is piled into a suitcase and the suitcase is sat on so that it can be zippered. Towels and sheets haven’t been washed all semester and can practically walk home!  Needless to say, it can be just as stressful as moving in.

Planning to Sublease an Apartment?

HaveUHeard that when a student moves into an off-campus apartment they generally sign a lease for twelve months? Most leases run early August (usually a few days up to a week after August 1st) through July 31st. Unlike most dorms, students are responsible for the entire year, even if they do not intend to stay for the summer. However, most apartment complexes will allow students to sublet their apartments. You will, nevertheless, have to jump through a few hoops to make a sublease happen.

How Students Can Obtain Tax Information

The IRS has advised college students and families that, when filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, they can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to obtain tax information necessary to fill out the form. Other options are also available to obtain tax information (IRS Tax Tip 2019-82). The federal government offers various forms of financial aid for college students, including loans and scholarships. To be eligible for such aid, students must fill out a FAFSA form each year, which contains financial and other relevant information on the student and the student’s family.

Florida Prepaid

Many of us who have lived in Florida, planned for our students’ education by taking advantage of the Florida Prepaid program. The program allows families to prepay for their child’s education at a guaranteed fixed rate. Many of us, also, were practically in shock when our last payment came due, possibly because that meant that college was right around the bend.

Safety Tips For Using Rideshare

I remember when I first heard about the rideshare company, Uber and thought it was a brilliant concept for so many reasons; one of which was that it should cut down on people driving after drinking and provide a way that my college kids didn’t walk home late at night or alone. I still think the idea is great and encourage my kids to continue to use Uber, Lyft, Wahi Ride or whatever their choice may be; however, before more scary stories show up in the news, we have had to create some new rules to be sure that they remain safe. Of course, the first rules are that whenever possible ride with a friend, and when you feel the slightest bit uneasy, do not hesitate to call for a campus police escort.

I Wish I Would Have Known

I didn’t know, did you? HaveUHeard was an idea born when our older kids were at the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida. As working parents, we did not have the time to search for information inside and outside the walls of UCF and UF yet alone get answers from our kids. We had so many “I wish I would have known,” or as we commonly refer to it as “huh?” moments over the four years our older kids were at college. That is when we thought, “What if there was a one-stop place for parents to get not only detailed information about the university but also the surrounding community? Then we would have known some of what was to come. Recognizing how stressful the college process is, from orientation through graduation, we created HaveUHeard to provide the inside scoop from current students and parents; a been there, done […]

GAP Year, should they take one?

I remember when I started graduate school and on the first day of class, we were assigned to read over 300 pages and write a paper before the next class. My jaw dropped and I wondered if the professor was serious. Not every class is like this, but after four years in college, some students may choose to take a break before jumping into graduate school; whether it’s medical school, law school, an MBA, or just about any other advanced degree. Graduate school can be a grind.

Celebrating Your Student’s Socially-Distanced Graduation

Graduation was a day we all looked forward to… we booked our hotels long in advance, made reservations for meals around the ceremony, and were all set to celebrate our students’ achievement. But today, those graduation plans are changing because of the quarantine. Some will have virtual ceremonies. Some will postpone until a later date. But, no matter when or where it happens, the fact remains that we are all extremely saddened by these changes because we’re all quarantined.

Tax Time

April 15th, tax time, is always right around the corner. As you are preparing your return or having a CPA prepare your return, do not forget to take advantage of the Education Tax Credits available which can help offset the cost of your student’s education. Taxes, we have to admit, are not fun but necessary. As you are preparing your return or having a CPA prepare your return, do not forget to take advantage of the Education Tax Credits available which can help offset the cost of your student’s education.

Will it Be Home Sweet Home This Summer?

Summer is coming. Whether we have just finished our freshman year or our senior year of college, we still have the same excitement, concerns, and feels that our parents have. Coming home from college for summer is an adjustment for us too. We’ve been on our own, making decisions for ourselves, managing our lives, staying out late if we wanted to, just being independent so the idea of having to have “rules” is scary. Not that we don’t get it.

Orientation and What You Don’t Need to Bring

Ok, here you go on the big new adventure! Orientation and moving into a dorm. Here is what we’ve found to be the most helpful suggestions. Let us know if you have anything to add! First, check to see if there is now an app you can download once you get there. If they do it is much easier to find all of the sessions, PDFs of all the information on the slide presentations, a map of the campus, and everything and anything you need to know about your student’s first year.

Grill, Chill & Thrill this July 4th!

Traditionally, most of us would celebrate our country’s independence by heading to beaches, parks, and enjoying fireworks. And while parks have opened and you can certainly enjoy grill, chill or thrill time with your family and friends, most city fireworks events have been canceled or postponed.