Archives for bethmcgaw

One Way for High School Students to Expand Their Resumes

It’s May. That means you are one step closer to summer and your graduation! 

Whether you are finishing your junior year or graduating high school this year, college is right around the corner. Though you’ll be starting a new chapter in your life in a few months, you still have the summer to play, but also to work.  

Getting a summer job is one of the best ways a high school student can expand their resume before they even start college. 

There are many kinds of jobs that provide you with good experience for your resumes: 

  • camp counselor
  • lifeguard
  • coach
  • referee or umpire
  • work at a grocery store
  • country club employee (waitstaff; grounds keeping; caddy)
  • restaurant staff
  • ice cream shop
  • retail clerk
  • babysitter/nanny
  • and more!

Finding a job and getting the job can be tricky. Start planning now!

We’ve prepared a few tips and tricks to help you get the perfect summer job!

A Summer Job

Right now you might not have a lot of experience to put on your resume. A summer job will give you work experience to put on your resume and the opportunity to showcase your skills and maturity. 

A summer job is a great way to start saving money for college or just to have some extra money. Having a job keeps you busy through the summer and will give you good experience to put on your resume. Experience that employers look for when you get ready to apply for internships or more permanent employment.

Saving money isn’t the only benefit of a summer job. A summer job helps you develop interview skills, gives you an opportunity to explore and establish your work ethic, discover your strengths and weaknesses, and gives you real-world experience.

A summer job helps you build skills and habits for your future career as well as your personal development. A summer job can help you develop valuable skills in communication, time management, and managing responsibilities.  It can also help you learn more about how you work with people, how you work under pressure, and more about your likes and dislikes. 

Finding a Job

There are plenty of job websites out there like Indeed or ZipRecruiter that make it easy to sift through job postings. You can make an account and then look through available job postings while applying filters to find jobs that match your exact needs. 

Filters include things like: industry, salary, company, part-time/full-time, and location. Filters make it much simpler to search for what you’re looking for and, if you find a posting you like, you can always save it and return to it later to apply. also offers the chance for one-click applications. You fill out a resume on the app, or you can upload your own, and then you can automatically apply with only a few clicks. 

Other than checking out job postings, if you have a place in mind you’d want to work, give them a call or go there in person to ask if they have any openings. Most places are interested in extra help in the summer and they might not have gotten around to putting a posting online yet. 

Another option is to ask friends if they enjoy where they work. If they do, ask if they’re hiring and if they could put in a good word for you. Just because it’s a job doesn’t mean you can’t work with friends!

Getting the Job

After you’ve been applying, you’ll start to get phone calls or emails in regards to the job itself so be sure to check your voicemails and emails

First impressions make or break a lot of interviews. Employers are now seeing you for the first time and they want to know they’re hiring someone professional. Make sure you dress professionally and arrive on time (10 – 15 minutes before your interview time). A future employer wants to know you are punctual and can be on time for your shift. 

Show up prepared with questions to ask and know the role you’re applying for.

Some questions you should expect to answer include: 

  • Why did you apply for the job? 
  • Why do you want to do the job? 
  • Why should we hire you? 

Make sure you have some potential answers already prepared in your head so you are ready to answer when they are asked. 

Be honest and transparent with the person interviewing you. Make sure they’re aware you’re leaving in the fall so that this job is temporary. Be prepared to talk about whether or not you’ll be home for holidays and interested in working then as well. 

Knowing Your Strengths and Skills

As a young adult, you might not have a lot of real-life experience. You might not even have held a job before. That’s okay! 

Draw on the experiences you do have even if they weren’t learned in a workplace. For example, do you play a sport? What skills have you developed from working as part of a team? Athletes develop kills like time management from balancing homework, classes, practices, and games, interpersonal skills from working with teammates, leadership skills, ability to follow directions, and/or perseverance. 

You have also developed solid job skills from being a good student, skills like managing your schoolwork and time. Do you accomplish things on time? Do you have a strong work ethic? If you’ve had group projects, how do you work with a group? What role do you take? What have you learned about yourself and how you work with others?  

Think about your involvement with any school clubs, volunteering, or other extracurriculars. Have you had any leadership roles? How have you supported the work of that club or organization? These experiences help develop skills like time management, civic engagement, and communication. 

Lastly, even if you don’t think you have a lot of job experience, know that employers are looking for some kind of evidence of these key skills: 

  • Strong Communication Skills
  • Time Management
  • Ability to Manage Various Responsibilities
  • Task Completion
  • Ability to Independently Follow Directions
  • Responsibility
  • Punctuality

There are many opportunities to apply and develop these skills. Keep track of all of them so you have a solid supply of experiences to draw from when finalizing your resume and preparing to write the next chapters of your life! 

Need help organizing your experiences or writing your resume? Contact us today!

Don’t Let Senioritis Beat You

Some suggestions from a college senior

It’s April – the last stretch for high school seniors!

Graduation is looming.

The finish line is in sight.

Most seniors will have received offer letters for college. They may start to think “I’m already in college, why do my high school grades matter?” Senioritis starts to set in.

For many high school seniors, senioritis can lead to a big struggle to reach the finish line to graduation. They may give up on their study habits. Grades drop. They might not pass a class and then need to attend summer school. This can lead to their college acceptance being revoked.

But, there are ways to beat senioritis! Nicole, LaunchPad’s college intern, has put together some tips for seniors to fight through senioritis, graduate strong, AND still enjoy their senior year.

Keep the End Goal in Sight!

In order to finish the year without mentally checking out, it’s important to create goals for yourself. It’s most important to keep your end goal in sight. Just because you’ve received an acceptance letter, poor grades in your senior year could change your college’s decision. Having goals keeps you motivated and moving forward while keeping your study habits strong. 

Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind and even write them down and put them somewhere you will see them frequently. It can be hard to hold yourself accountable, so be sure to surround yourself with people who will push you. See if your friends will make arrangements to set goals for themselves and you can hold each other accountable. 

Keep in mind, it’s easy to adopt the habits of the people you’re surrounded with. If you surround yourself with people who slack off and don’t take school seriously, you’ll find it harder for yourself to stay motivated. Surround yourself with people who have the same habits and values as you. It will help you maintain your habits and values and push you to maintain them. These people will also push you to be the best version of yourself which will help keep you on track.

Have fun!

However, don’t be afraid to have fun and be goofy. Senior year shouldn’t be all work and no play. Find people who take work seriously but don’t let it consume your life. It’s important to recognize you can have fun while achieving your goals. 

Be sure to reward yourself. High school is full of hard work. You have survived. That’s an accomplishment!

Received college acceptance letters? That’s another accomplishment! You put in the work, so finish strong AND reward yourself and acknowledge your accomplishment. 

Plan important events with your friends and family throughout the semester. This not only gives you something to look forward to, but also means you spend some quality time with your loved ones before you leave for college.

Change Things Up!

Don’t be afraid to change things up a bit. By now, you’ve been in high school for close to 4 years and may always follow the same routine. Make small changes, even if it’s just switching up where you study by doing schoolwork somewhere new like a coffee shop or a library. Small changes with new scenery can stimulate your motivation and prepare you for the changes coming with going to college.

Change can also include participating in other activities. Explore new opportunities. Join a community engagement project, try out a new interesting class, or join a new club. With only a few months left, don’t be afraid to seek out new challenges and new experiences.

Changes in your routine keep things exciting. It allows you to look forward to something new and stimulates your brain in a new way.

Stay Organized and on Schedule

Don’t let yourself get behind with due dates and other events. To cross the finish line, it’s important to stay organized and on schedule. Senioritis takes advantage of disorganization and poor time management. Stay ahead of it and keep yourself organized. Not only will this help fight off senioritis it will help ease your stress and allow you to feel at ease. 

Use a planner, calendar, or reminder app to keep track of time and tasks. It’s easier said than done to say you’ll remember everything in your head! At the end of the day, we’re all human. Using a planner or calendar will help you stay ahead of due dates and feel more stress-free. 

Make to-do lists to help prioritize your day. Having a written reminder of tasks you want to accomplish not only keeps you organized, but it also keeps you motivated. You want to accomplish the tasks on your list and feel the satisfaction of crossing them off! Writing things down also allows you to delegate your time appropriately. Thinking about which tasks may be harder or take more time can help you plan when to do them. For instance, some people prefer to knock off the more time-consuming tasks earlier in their day. Having a list in front of you allows you to make these decisions confidently and stay on schedule. 

Don’t be afraid to take breaks! As much as senioritis can be a thing, burnout is a real thing too. Part of staying organized is recognizing and prioritizing downtime. Know when your mind needs a break. Giving your brain time to relax and recharge stimulates motivation and will help you stay on task.

Organizing your school work and responsibilities also helps organize your mind which allows you to physically and mentally prepare for life beyond high school! College is a whole new world. You have independence and freedom that you may not have had in high school. Learning how to keep yourself organized and how to plan your own time will make the transition into college more successful. 

Not only will staying organized help you finish your senior year strong, but you will then take these habits into college. Regularly attending class, being on time for events, submitting your homework on time, and preparing for your tests are all good habits you must have for success in college. If you keep up with them now, you’ll carry them into college. They’ll also turn into life-long habits which puts you in a great position for living the life you want. 

Are you feeling like senioritis is taking over your spring? Beth can help! Contact LaunchPad today for help with staying on track for starting college strong. 

BigFuture Scholarships for Classes of ’24 and ’25

yellow diamond shaped sign reading college ahead with arrow

One part of your student’s college search may be searching for financial resources. They can start with your college’s financial office for what opportunities are available through the college, but there are a few other options too.

Companies that offer scholarship databases often allow you to search for scholarships that pertain to their major, location, or hobbies and interests.

A few of those are:;;

There are also organizations which offer specific scholarships your student may be eligible for based on a set of characteristics or by completing a few steps. One example is the BigFuture Scholarships from College Board.

About the BigFuture Scholarships

College Board wants to help your child plan for their future. Their BigFuture Scholarships are designed to encourage students to complete six tasks to plan for life after high school. Each time a step is completed through the BigFuture site, your student is entered in a scholarship drawing for $500 and one for $40,000.  That’s it. Yes, really! 

Scholarships can be used to cover tuition, fees, books, and other relevant educational expenses. Yes, really! 

So, what do they have to do? Things they are probably already doing or plan to do. Things like making a career list, building a college list, exploring scholarships, completing the FAFSA and applying to colleges. Yes, the things you don’t want to have to nag them about all spring!

Here’s the information on the tasks and what your student will need to do to earn entries into the scholarship drawings. And, as always, we are here to help at any step along the way!

BigFuture Tasks

Start A Career List

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year 

  1. Log in to their College Board account. 
  2. Search for careers on BigFuture.
  3. Add three or more careers to their list. 

Boom! They’ll be earning entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

BigFuture includes information on over 1,000 careers as well as a quiz to help match with your student’s interests and aspects that are important to them (pay, type of work, education and skills needed, etc..) If that sounds overwhelming, don’t stress! Beth can help your student filter through the information if needed. 

Build a College List

Deadline: End of June of Senior Year 

  1. Log in to their College Board account. 
  2. Search for colleges on BigFuture.
  3. Add six or more schools to their list. 

Your student has earned more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

On BigFuture, students can filter schools by affordability, interests, location, major, type, and more. When building a college list, the cost of tuition is one factor to consider. is another source for helping parents and students find schools that fit their tuition range. And, Beth can help your student use this list to find a college that is the right fit for them!

Start a Scholarship List

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year 

  1. Log in to their College Board account on Scholarship Search.  
  2. Answer questions to complete the Matching Criteria information.
  3. Review the list of other scholarships they qualify for.
  4. Save three scholarships to their list. 

Once again, your student has earned more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

Scholarship Search filters scholarship options based on how the requirements match your student’s profile. As your student builds a list of possibilities, Beth can help your student create an organizational system for keeping track of all the deadlines and requirements.  

Explore Scholarships

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year  

  1. Log in to their College Board account on Scholarship Search.  
  2. Answer questions to complete the Matching Criteria information.
  3. Review the list of other scholarships they qualify for.
  4. Click Go Apply for at least one scholarship to learn about the requirements or fill out an application. 

Yes, really – your student just needs to follow those steps to earn more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

Students will not have to complete the applications at the time they are exploring. They can save them to their list, so rest assured, Beth can help with those applications and their requirements!

Complete the FAFSA

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year 

  1. Take action to unlock financial aid by submitting the FAFSA or submitting your state’s financial aid form.
  2. Log in to BigFuture. Confirm your qualification for the drawing on the dashboard by:
    • verifying that you completed the FAFSA (from the Student Aid Report you will receive in the mail after submitting your FAFSA)
    • Verifying that you submitted a state aid form, or
    • Verifying that your student is legally ineligible to submit both the FAFSA and a state aid form 

And, your student has again earned more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

Need help completing the FAFSA or finding out about your state aid form? Beth can help with that!

Apply to Colleges

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year  

  1. Go to their college list on BigFuture. 
  2. Confirm the colleges they have applied to are there.
  3. Add any additional colleges applied to. 
  4. Update the status of their applications (Applied, Accepted, Waitlisted, Denied).  

And, that equals more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

Again, Beth can help with those applications and their requirements as well as any of the other steps along the way. 

Dates and Deadlines

Scholarships for $500 and $40,000 are awarded monthly until February of your student’s senior year. Completing any step enters them in the drawings on the first day of every month. For $500 scholarships, College Board selects 150 winners from the class of 2024 and 150 from the class of 2025 every month. For $40,000 scholarships, we select a total of two monthly (one from class of 2024 and another from class of 2025). Drawings occur on the first day of every month. ​

Find out more about the BigFuture Scholarships and get your student’s account set up at: