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As summer winds down and you start getting ready to head off to your freshman year of college (or your kid is at least), it’s time to start thinking about shopping for your dorm room! Several stores around town have very good deals for college shopping. Bed Bath and Beyond allows you to go around the store with a scanner, choosing the items you want. Once you are at school, you can pick up your purchases at the store closest to your college. You pay when you pick up the items, so if you decide something is not necessary or you want another item, it is a painless fix. That option certainly allows for easier packing. I bought everything from pillows to towels to a standing lamp at Bed Bath and Beyond last year, and simply went to the store five minutes from my school and picked up my items the day I moved in. Bed Bath and Beyond has a special section on its website for college shopping. To simplify the process, it organizes the items they sell for dorms into categories: Sleep, Eat, Wash, Study, Organize, Breathe, and Chill, which makes it a little bit harder to forget important (or even totally useless!) items. It also provides a checklist and Bed Bath and Beyond’s “Top 5 Must-Haves.”

The Container Store in White Plains had a College Night earlier this summer with 20% off the entire store, but the two New York City stores, located on Sixth Avenue and on 58th and Lex, have their College Nights coming up next week on August 3rd and 4th respectively. While those nights can get very busy, they are actually a lot of fun and can offer pretty good savings. I think The Container Store is the best place to get hangers, stacking drawers, bulletin boards, lap desks, closet organizers, and basically anything you could think of to squeeze into your small dorm room. The Container Store’s website has a dorm organization section as well as a section called “Dorm Room Basic Six” for organizing a dorm room: Closet, Wall and Doors, Desk, Laundry, Bath, and Storage. The website also has tips and ideas for dorm rooms, such as how to maximize the small space of a dorm room and tips for moving in.

I struggled to find bedding that I liked. For girls, Urban Outfitters has some good options, but because of the lack of Urban Outfitters stores in this area, it is probably easiest to order online. Anthropologie is another great option for bedding, although it is a little expensive. Bed Bath and Beyond also has some nice and affordable bedding, as does Crate and Barrel. Be sure to get Twin Extra-Long bedding. I love the really soft sheets that feel like an old t-shirt, and Garnet Hill is having a sale on those sheets right now.

Ikea and Target are great places to look as well, and they also have nice things for upperclassmen moving into apartments. Target’s website also has a college section where they offer some great lounge chairs, futons, desk chairs (if you want to bring your own), and some nice posters and decals for the walls.

I don’t think having a TV in your room is all that important at school, especially given how many shows are now available online, but Costco does have well-priced TV’s. In terms of a microwave and fridge, I would recommend seeing if your college has a MicroFridge rental service because if you rent one for the year, they deliver it right to your room when you move in, making the move-in process that much easier.

Other really great things to bring are extension cords (but make sure your college does not have restrictions on those first), iPod speakers, fans (older dorms get very hot), a printer, and perhaps most importantly, an alarm clock! As much as I love my cell phone, that alarm is way too easy to dismiss and then fall right back asleep. Having some posters for your walls is a good idea, and AllPosters.com has thousands of posters to choose from, including paintings, pictures, and posters from movies or TV Shows. Right now they are having a back to school poster sale online.

Here is packing list taken mostly from the Bed Bath and Beyond website with a few omissions. Enjoy!

Eat
Utensils
Plates and Bowls
Glasses
Coffee Cups
Water Bottle
Travel Mugs

Sleep
2 sheet sets
Pillow Protectors
Pillows
Mattress Pad
Comforter or Quilt
Duvet Cover
Blanket
Air Mattress (for guests)
Alarm Clock

Wash
(Lots of) towels and wash cloths
Toothbrush, Toothpaste
Shampoo, Conditioner
Body Wash
Face Wash
Hair Iron/Blowdryer
Makeup Mirror
Shower basket

Chill
Lounge chair
Rug
Picture frames
Collages
Wall art
iPod Speakers

Study
Desk Lamp
Waste Basket
Bulletin Board
Light Bulbs
Extension Cord
Floor Lamp
School Supplies (pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, highlighters, notecards - easiest to get at school bookstore)

Organize
Drawer organizers
Shoe storage
Sweater/Garment Storage
Hangers
Drying Rack
Pop-Up Hamper
Luggage
Hand Vacuum

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Now that the Scarsdale High School Class of 2010 has graduated, it’s time to pass on some words of advice they should keep in mind before heading to college.

1. Don’t leave all of your packing until the last minute. You’ve accumulated a lot more stuff over the last 18 years than you think you have.

2. You’re not going to love school immediately. If your friends all say they do, there’s a pretty good chance that a few of them are lying. Although it might seem like it at first, it’s not a competition to see which one of your friends is the happiest.

3. It’s only natural to try to make close friends as quickly as possible so you feel more comfortable. There’s definitely nothing wrong with that but try not to close yourself off from new people. Some of my closest friends I didn’t even meet until second semester.

4. If you love your roommate, that’s great. But, if you are like many people, your roommate will not be your best friend, and that’s fine (even better maybe!). It’s completely okay to get along well with your roommate in the room and not hang out socially. Just as long as you are civil and compatible in your living space, you will have a good experience.

5. Take the time to talk to some upperclassmen and get advice on what classes to take. Try to figure out what professors are the best, what time you can realistically get out of bed in the morning, and how far your classes are from one another.

6. Bring way more pairs of socks and underwear than you could possibly think you need, for a couple of reasons. If you are like me, you will notice over the year that more and more of your socks go missing and coincidentally your roommate is wearing socks that look very familiar to you. Also, unless you run out of clean pairs of underwear, there is truthfully no reason to do laundry. So, if you bring many more pairs than you need, you will suddenly find you are spending much less time in the laundry room.

7. The “Freshman 15” is a very overblown fear. Dining hall selections have many more healthy choices than you would think. The greatest risk is late night desserts and snacks with your friends, but like in the rest of life, anything in moderation is fine.

8. Another overblown fear is being “sexiled.” It’s your room too. If you think your roommate is taking advantage of you, just say something.

9. Bring or buy a printer for your room. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time running to the library to print a paper 10 minutes before it’s due.

10. If you’re homesick, keep in mind almost every other person there is as well. Try to avoid going home often for weekends. Stick it out and suddenly you’ll find that school is your home.

Nell Brodsky is a 2009 alum of Scarsdale High School who just completed her first year at Brown.

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Scarsdale resident Stephen Karotkin, Board Member and Philanthroposit for Let’s Get Ready (LGR) was honored at their annual benefit on Tuesday night April 27 at Guastavino’s in Manhattan. Now in it’s 12th year, Let’s Get Ready provides SAT tutoring and support for low-income students striving to attend college. Founded in 1998 by Jeannie Lang Rosenthal of Scarsdale, the group has grown from a single site in Mount Vernon to 58 programs that are on track to serve 2,300 students in 2010. College students serve as teachers and mentors helping with test preparation, college selection, and applications for college, financial aid and scholarships.

LGR has been successful; SAT scores of those who attend their program increase by an average of 112 points and 90% go directly onto college. In the past 12 years, LGR has assisted 9,000 students in need to go through the college process and 75% of the students were the first in their families to go on to college.

On Tuesday night, over 500 people turned out to support Let’s Get Ready and to thank Stephen Karotkin, the event co-chairs and the Board of Directors. From Scarsdale, Priscilla Natkins chairs the Board of Directors and college senior Emily Lampert serves on the Board.  Lisa and Andy Rodman were one of the couples chairing Monday night's event. As it costs $500 to take each student through the process, the proceeds from the benefit will go a long way to helping more to realize their dreams. To learn more and get involved, visit: http://www.letsgetready.org/

Many more Scarsdalians are active in the organization or enthusiastic supporters;
Check them out:

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Friends of Scarsdale10583 and local Cornell alumni are invited to attend the Twelfth Annual Wolleman Family History Lecture on May 26th at Lake Isle Country Club. Cornell History professor Vicki Caron will provide a look at Catholic anti-Semitism in France in the late 19th-early 20th century and its role in the creation of the modern anti-Semitic movement. She will also discuss positive moments of Catholic-Jewish interaction, including the rise of a philo-Semitic movement and attempts at mutual understanding.

Vicki Caron is the Thomas and Diann Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at Cornell University. Her major publications include: Between France and Germany: The Jews of Alsace-Lorraine, 1871-1918 (1988), Uneasy Asylum: France and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, 1933-1942 (1999) and Jewish Emancipation Reconsidered: The French and German Models, co-edited with Michael Brenner and Uri R. Kaufmann (2003). She is currently completing research for a book entitled Jewish-Catholic Relations in France since 1870.

Please join us!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
6:00 p.m. Cocktail reception
6:45 p.m. Lecture begins
7:45 p.m. Dinner
9:00 p.m. Event concludes

Price: $45 includes cocktail reception and dinner
Location: Lake Isle Country Club, 660 White Plains Road, Eastchester, NY
Contact Information

For registration click here or call (607) 254-7147

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Jacques Steinberg, author of The Gatekeepers, and moderator of the New York Times’ College Choice blog, noted in his recent article (Few Find Hope on Waiting List at Top Colleges, New York Times, April 14, 2010) that Duke University had placed 3,382 students on its waiting list for the Class of 2014. This number represents almost twice the number of students expected to matriculate in the fall. What accounts for this explosion in the number of students on the waiting list this year? Several factors may contribute to this phenomenon. More students are applying to more colleges than ever before. In years past, students applied to 8-10 colleges, but now that number often approaches 12-15 applications. Colleges must review many more applications within the same three-month time frame. Often, students apply to colleges within a narrow band of selectivity. It stands to reason, then, that there will be many potential cross-admits. Therefore, colleges may have a harder time predicting their yield, or the number of students that actually accept an offer of admission and matriculate in the fall.

Christopher Guttentag, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Duke, admitted to the NY Times that, “Another reason the list is so long this year, is that he and his colleagues were so overwhelmed by the volume of applicants that they ran out of time.” According to that article, students, at least on Duke’s waiting list, are not ranked. Dean Guttentag explained that the waiting list would be used, if necessary, “…to finish sculpting the class.” “From an institutional perspective, it’s important that I have some flexibility.” What this really means is that if there is a surfeit of students who have declared their intent to study English, a college may pluck a prospective math major off its waiting list. Or, in the classic example, if the orchestra has graduated its last bassoonist, and no double reed players accept an offer of admission, that college will go to the waiting list to fill that institutional need. This appears to confirm the worst nightmare of a waitlisted applicant – that there really is little chance of being admitted.

What does this mean for the student whose applications have yielded one or more waitlist offers? As with many other aspects of the college application process, the answer is, it depends. If the student’s personality allows him to keep his options open –assuming that doing so does not violate the stated policy of a school he accepts in the interim – then he should keep his name on the waiting list and hope for the best.

What would you do?

If you choose to accept a place on a college’s waiting list, and many colleges require you to be proactive to do so, there are things you can do to try and increase your odds of being plucked from the list. Let the school know you truly want to go there. Send an honest letter telling them why that school should choose you. Provide any meaningful updates to the information in your file. If you know in advance that you will definitely attend, if admitted, tell that to admissions. Just know the odds are not in your favor. Safia Khan, a student at Cary Academy in Chapel Hill, NC explained, in a NYT editorial (April 15, 2010), that students of her generation excel at waiting, and notes, “Whether we like it or not, rejection is a reality – and we should learn to live with it before graduating into the working world. Eventually, we need a straight answer from the grown-ups who decide our fates.”

Many students, cognizant of the few places offered to students on waiting lists in any given year, prefer to just move on and plan their future at the school that has accepted and wants them now. Our advice: be realistic, and do what feels right to you. If you can handle the continued uncertainty, accept a spot on the waiting list of the school of your dreams and be patient. But, if you’d rather look ahead, and focus on the future, send in your deposit to the school you will attend, order your hoodie and look forward to move-in day.

Leslie Berkovits, Collegistics LLC
Collegistics LLC provides comprehensive services to students and parents who are embarking on, or in the midst of, the college application process. Providing families the benefit of seven advisors, Collegistics uses a team approach, offering the kind of practical and emotional support that results in an informed and less stressful college application experience. If you have any questions about the college process you would like to see addressed in future issues, email: info@collegistics.com or call: (914) 722-6050. Please visit our website at www.collegistics.com for further information.

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