How to Organize a Cramped Dorm Room

Lets face it: dorm rooms are usually pretty tiny.

And it can be a challenge to turn a small space into an ideal study spot and living area with a roommate.

So here are a variety of ways students are organizing their dorm rooms:

Storage Box Under the Bed
Organize your books, shoes, extra clothes, or whatever with a storage box under your bed.

Closet Organizers
Closet organizers are not just for your closet. You can use them anywhere in your dorm. There are shoe racks, stackable baskets, garment racks, etc.

Plastic Crates
Stack plastic crates in your closet to organize items you might not need on a daily basis.

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Bedside Pockets/Organizers
Bedside pockets can help you store a lot of essentials close by. You can sew these yourself to save money.

Stack Your Shelves
Bring plenty of shelves if you plan on keeping a lot of books et al. in your dorm room.


Loft Bed
If youre allowed to bring your own bed – or can hack the one in your room, Id highly recommend you get a loft bed. Its the best way to have a study spot and bed in a tiny little area.


Bed Risers
If you cant use a loft bed in your dorm room, add these bed risers (or breeze blocks) under your bed frame. This will give you plenty of space to stuff boxes, books, and other essentials under your bed.

Please leave a comment to let me know of any other essentials you think are valuable for dorm rooms.

How to Write a Killer College Application Essay

I know a lot of students struggle when writing their college application essay.

Here is some advice from actual college admissions officers on what they look for in a quality college essay:

Be Original
The essays we dislike the most are those that seemingly could have been written by 2,000 or 3,000 other applicants. Were looking for distinctiveness. Think of us hoping that the application will at least figuratively come alive in front of us, so when were struggling to read applications at 10:30 p.m. on any given night, seven nights a week during the reading perio, were looking for personality. Were looking to grasp hold of an individual.

Tell An Interesting Story
A students writing style can sometimes tell us as much about the student as the actual story itself. I like reading something interesting that happened to students. The essays that I dread reading are, of course, the ones that start out about My trip to Europe or something like that. If they do have a story to tell and it is something about their trip to Europe, Id rather hear something about a specific incident that happened rather than a travelogue and summation that says, Now I have a greater understanding of culture.

Be Creative
I dont think everybody has to have some major event that they have to write about in their lives. I think the student has to use some creative juices to come up with an interesting way of talking about the family dog or a relationship with a sick aunt. Those are the kinds we like to read, those that arent the typical 300 words Pikes Peak out-the-rear-window-of -a -car-essay.

Be Concise and Clear
I like to see things that are written concisely and clearly. I dread the long, long, long essay that brings in every unimportant detail about what theyre trying to get across. I really like it when people can express themselves in a brief manner and also be effective at the same time.

Write Straight from the Heart
We want essays that come straight from the heart. Thats the point of the essay. Why do you want me? Why do you want me as a student on your campus? What are you going to contribute? I dont mean by being president of the senior class or being an All-American. There are lots of ways that students can contribute. They need to have a sense of themselves in order to present that in written form.

Show Your Personality
The essay should not be simply a regurgitation of information thats already in a students resume. I like to see students walk out on thin ice and use humor if its natural for them. They shouldnt put on some kind of corporate vocabulary simply to try to impress the committee. Were more interested in personal style and the substance of the writing than how they can impress us with their vocabulary and their sentence structure.

Dont Try to Be Funny if Youre Not
Many people bomb when they try to be humorous because peoples senses of humor dont always match. Someone may think something is funny, and it may be derogatory to someone else.

Please comment with some personal advice on writing college application essays