10 Words You’ll Want to Cut Out of Your Next Paper

One of the best tricks for improving your writing is to take a look at the vocabulary you use. As you advance and become a better writer, your choice of words should continue to improve and become more versatile and sophisticated as well. Along the way, there are a few words that you should seriously consider cutting down on using – or cutting out altogether!

1.  You

In everyday speech, we use the second person quite often, either to directly address someone or to represent an amalgamation of any readers or people other than the writer/speaker. For informal writing or something addressed at a specific reader (like this blog article!), it’s okay to use. However, in formal writing, the use of “you” (pronoun) and its variations will weaken the essay. “You” is too informal for academic or business writing, and “you” sentence constructions (i.e., “you can see that X is true”) are less decisive than simpler sentences (i.e., “X is true”).

2. Really/Very

“Really” (adverb) and “very” are the supermarket cupcakes of descriptive words: they’ll do the trick, but they’re so bland and non-specific that nearly any other word would be an improvement. There are plenty of other words that can be used to intensify a noun or adjective without having to resort to that boring old “very” or “really.”

3. Sort of

When you’re writing an essay, you want to sound authoritative on your topic of choice – that’s the entire point, right? “Sort of” undercuts your knowledge from the get-go: it’s a wishy-washy phrase that creates wiggle room where you don’t want there to be any. If you need to describe an ambiguous situation, try for a more specific description of that particular ambiguity. Note: this goes for other variations like “kind of” as well!

4. Just

This is the perfect example of another wishy-washy weasel word that allows a writer to be non-committal or downplay their own points. Whenever you’re tempted to insert “just” into a sentence, resist the urge and read the sentence without “just” in it. Does it still make the same point you intended? Great. If not, it might be one of those rare moments where “just” is actually necessary (to make a contrast, perhaps); in that case, you have full permission to use it.

5. Irregardless

There’s one very good reason not to use this word: it’s not actually a word. As a writing instructor, even at the college level, this was quite possibly the single most common word-choice mistake I saw. “Regardless” is the word you’re looking for; “irregardless” does not exist.

Spare yourself (and your professors/classmates/bosses) the awkwardness.

6. Thing

Much like “really” and “very,” “thing” is a wildly non-specific word that isn’t bad but can be replaced by an infinite number of more specific, more interesting words. Within an academic context, there’s rarely a situation where “thing” (noun) is a better word that some other, more particular noun.

7. Any conjugation of “to go”

This one pops up most often in creative writing, but it may show up in professional or academic work as well. Think about it: what kind of images or connotations does “went” or “goes” conjure up? It’s pretty generic. For instances where you need to convey movement or change, find a different, more vivid word – it’ll give you the freedom to embrace all the connotations and subtle cues that a basic word like “goes” doesn’t have.

8. Amazing

“Amazing” (adjective) has two major downsides. One: it’s become very informal language. It’s the sort of word you might use to enthusiastically describe a meal or a movie to your friends, but it feels like it doesn’t quite fit into a more formal context. The other problem: it’s so common that it’s been watered down. “Amazing” is used so often that it doesn’t have the strength you’re probably looking for.

9. Always/Never

Your parents might have already taught you this one, albeit in a different context. “Always” and “never,” unless statistically accurate from your own research or from a source you cited in your annotated bibliography, have the opposite problem of many of the words on this list: they’re too specific and box you into a statement that is absolute. In reality, absolutes are rare, so not only do “always” and “never” create weak or amateurish writing, but they’re also probably inaccurate.

10. Literally

In its actual definition, there’s nothing inherently wrong with “literally” (adverb) – it’s a great way to express contrast with something figurative. In reality, especially in recent years, “literally” has, ironically, become a figurative expression itself and is too often used as a deliberate exaggeration or a verbal tic.


While you’re improving your writing, make sure your references are included and correct. BibMe.org can help with APA citations, MLA works cited, a plagiarism definition, and more!

6 Habits That Could Be Hurting Your Mental Health

A little bit of stress is a normal fact of life for pretty much everyone. But when your stress or worry becomes overwhelming, it’s time to change up habits. While some health concerns obviously need to be addressed by a professional, there are plenty of small changes you can make that have the potential to make a big difference. You might not even realize it, but these six habits could be messing with your mental health:


Do you have a research paper due soon? No need to stress — BibMe.org has your back! There are resources like an APA citation maker, MLA citing forms, and guides that cover Chicago format and annotated bibliographies, too. Visit BibMe.org today!


Sleep habits

Okay, we’ve all been there: not getting enough sleep while you’re finishing a big project or stressed about an interview or rehearsals. If it happens once in a while, that’s no big deal. The harm comes when you start making your “normal” sleep habits bad ones. Not getting enough sleep – and yes, pulling all-nighters to cram for a test – is actually really bad for your brain and your overall well-being.

It’s not just about the hours, either. The concept of “sleep hygiene” basically helps you develop good behaviors around sleep so that you can get the most rest and benefits. Make small changes:

  • skip caffeine and heavy
  • hard-to-digest foods in the hours before sleep
  • turn off your digital devices
  • start a small pre-sleep routine to teach your body to wind down

These practices can help you get a more restful sleep, which translates to a more refreshed and alert day!

Avoiding exercise

When you feel crummy, the last thing you want to do is exercise. The truth is, though, that exercise might be the best thing you could do. Getting physical movement going, whether you like weights, running, dancing, or yoga, is the key here. Not only does exercise help you feel better physically, but it’s a great outlet for stress and frustration. When your body is strong, your mind is stronger too!

Time management

Getting your schedule under control is one of the best ways to start feeling like you can tackle other things in your life. It’s easy to fall into habits of procrastination, poor scheduling, or overcommitting yourself, and then your stress just gets compounded when it feels like you never get anything done.

Instead, find a time management system that works for you. Do you like color-coded digital schedules? Do you like writing out your to-do list by hand on a pretty day planner? A neat and sleek to-do checklist? Figure out what works best for you, divide up your time – and then work to stick to it. Be sure to schedule in downtime, too, to avoid burnout!

Perfectionism

The pressure to do everything and do it perfectly is everywhere these days. If you spend all your time trying to be perfect, however, it’s going to take a major toll on your health. Pursuing excellence is not the same as overloading yourself in the effort to achieve some benchmark of “perfection.” Focus on effort and excellence instead: set realistic goals, focus on the journey as much as the outcome, and check in with yourself to make sure you’re not pushing yourself too far. You’ll find that your work is much better, and you’re much happier, when you’re not fussing over every single possible mistake.

Over complaining

Sometimes, you just need to vent, and that’s okay. But like many other behaviors, it’s when the complaining becomes a common habit that it gets in the way of your health. Negativity only leads to more negativity, which then gets you spiraling into a pretty miserable mood all the time. If your complaining is something that can be acted upon, try to do that instead. If it’s not something you can change, then allow yourself a set time to vent to yourself, your friend, or your cat, and then redirect your thinking to more positive things. The same goes if someone wants to complain to you: it’s okay to listen or even commiserate briefly, but don’t let your relationships with friends or colleagues become focused on sharing complaints.

Social media

Be honest: how much time do you spend scrolling Instagram or Twitter? It’s probably more than you realize. While social media can be a great way to stay connected, that constant sense of connection is a double-edged sword. Not only does it get in the way of your real, relaxing downtime, it also makes it all too easy to constantly compare yourself to the image that others put out online. Instead of automatically reaching for your phone, try to get away from your devices and enjoy a different hobby some of the time!


If you need more stress-relievers, check out the BibMe plagiarism checker and its extensive (and fun!) grammar guides. They cover just about everything for you, including how to use helping verbs, a possessive adjective, and correlative conjunctions. BibMe.org makes citing and writing easier.

How Be Your Bestest Self in Every Cover Letter

Graduating felt pretty sweet, but now it’s time to get down to business and find a job. You might already have a general cover letter and resume, but you can’t send the exact same thing to all the jobs you’re applying to. That’s not going to cut it if you want to stand out and land your dream job.

Instead, try these cover letter dos and don’ts to refine that stock cover letter into a customized piece that truly reflects your unique talents.


A cover letter is an opportunity to make your writing pop — BibMe is here to help you stand out from the crowd! Check out their free grammar guides for info about first person pronouns, adverb examples, and an interjection list. Then, give your cover letter a final touch and run it through the BibMe grammar and plagiarism checker and land that dream job!


Do:

Keep it fresh

Write a new/revised cover letter for every job application. You can of course copy and paste a bit between drafts. Just be sure to use the following tips to make it feel tailor-made because a cover letter’s sole purpose is to answer the question: Why am I the best person for this job?

Search keywords

Read over the job description highlighting words specific to the job. Since many employers use software to narrow down huge applicant pools, the more harmony between your cover letter and job description, the better.  

Tip: When searching for keywords, think like a search engine. Which words in the job description are most important for finding the right person for the job?

Your homework

Research the company itself. Is there a specific project or recent news about the company that appeals to you? Do they have a reputation for hiring a certain type of person? Incorporating this information in your letter will further prove you are a good fit and demonstrates a genuine interest in the company rather than treating it like one of a million organizations in your application pile.

Think customer service

Ask yourself the question: What can I do for you?

The entire purpose of a cover letter is to highlight the answers to this question. Because you’ve done your research and collected keywords, you know exactly what they are looking for. Now it’s time to match your personal history and strengths with those needs. Think about everything you’ve done from volunteer activities, part-time jobs, or special school projects and match those with the company’s needs.

Don’t:

Don’t go beyond a page

If your job application was a movie, the cover letter would be the trailer. Keep it short, tight and full of the best you have to offer.

Don’t include your GPA

The same can be said for graduation rank or any other school-related metric unless it is perfect and provides a direct correlation to the job itself. Employers know that great students are not always great employees. Focus your limited space on what makes you the best fit for the position.

Don’t let creativity run wild

Resist the urge to use unusual words, fonts, or phrases. They will make you stand out, but unless you are applying for a highly creative job, you will stick out for all the wrong reasons. Focus instead on the experiences and talents you can lend the company.

Don’t go it alone

Your potential employer should not be the first person to set eyes on your cover letter. No matter how diligent and thoughtful you are, there is bound to be a mistake or two hidden between the lines. Your best bet is to ask someone who has been in the workforce to read over your letter to weed out any potential missteps.

A cover letter is a company’s first introduction to you. With a little extra time, care and research, it can also be the very first step toward your dream job.


You probably won’t need citations in your cover letter, but BibMe.org is there when you’re ready to research. Whether it’s an APA bibliography or MLA citing you are looking for, thousands of styles to choose from (Chicago format, too!) at BibMe.org. You can also find help on putting together your annotated bibliography.

5 College Prep Tasks to Do the Summer Before Senior Year

Summer vacation means you get to finally take a relaxing break from school — but if you’re a high school senior, summer can also be an opportunity to get a jumpstart on college applications.

If you can devote even just a few hours each week to college apps, you’ll save yourself a TON of stress later when it comes time to press that “submit” button.

Here are 5 college prep tasks you can work on over the summer:


Applications, essays, and resumes, oh my! Let BibMe.org give you hand. There’s a paper checker to help you avoid plagiarism, and grammar guides that provide examples of interjections, lay out the difference in usage of adjectives and adverbs, and even help with research paper topics and example papers!


#1: Start drafting your application essays

As many colleges allow you to apply via the Common App, you can count on having to complete their essay. The Common App gives students several different prompts to choose from, and they’re all pretty broad. Come up with a draft of your 650-word essay over the summer. That way, you can ask a tutor or English teacher to read it over for you once school starts back up. If you plan to apply to schools that don’t use the Common App, check and see if their essay questions are online.

#2: Decide on a final college list

By the summer before senior year, you may have already toured some colleges and may even have a dream school in mind. This is a good time to finalize the list of schools you’re applying to, considering factors like academics, social life, location and cost. The exact number of schools students apply to varies quite a bit, but if you have your eye on highly selective universities, somewhere around 12-15 sounds about right. Make sure to have at least one “safety” — a school where you feel confident you’ll be admitted with your grades and SAT/ACT scores.

#3: Build your resume with a job, classes, etc.

The summer before senior year is your last chance to add something big to your resume. Get a job lifeguarding at a local camp, enroll in classes at a college or intern at a company that does something you’ve always been interested in. Volunteer work is another great way to boost your resume and give back during your extended vacation. Of course, summer is also the time for fun: Don’t forget to relax with pool days, Netflix binges, or a family trip.

#4: Think about financial aid options

College is notoriously expensive, and this is a good time to look into different financial aid and scholarship opportunities. The FAFSA — the federal form used to determine how much you qualify for in loans/aid — should be submitted as close to Oct. 1 as possible, as you can increase your award by filing early.* Many students also seek out merit scholarships, which often have rigorous applications that require you to submit additional essays or letters of recommendation. While most of these won’t be due until the fall or later, summer is a good time to do some research and figure out which opportunities are a good fit.

*Always check with the official FAFSA website for any changes or updates.

#5: Study for your final SAT/ACT

Most students take the SAT or ACT in the spring of their junior year, but if you’re not yet satisfied with your score, you’ll have one final opportunity in the fall before applications are due. Order a prep book, join a class, or schedule sessions with a tutor to make sure you’re prepared for test day.


You may not need to create MLA citations or an APA reference page for the ACT or SAT, but BibMe’s citation guides can give great help for your college-level paper. Why not check out what BibMe.com can do for you before your first semester starts?

Research Habits that Sabotage Your Papers

Research papers are hard work. Don’t sabotage your paper’s grade before it’s even turned in. Help make your research process more efficient and ethical by kicking these four research habits to kick to the curb!

Habit 1: Waiting until the last minute

We all do it. When it’s not something fun or easy, the natural instinct is to keep putting it off until it absolutely has to get done. Starting an essay at the last minute is convenient and temporarily nice, but can stress you out later and won’t help anyone do their best writing.

The answer: Set smaller deadlines for yourself before the teacher’s due date (e.g., outline, research, draft, editing, etc.). This makes the entire process of writing a paper less intimidating and can help you manage your time without resorting to doing it all the night before. Planning ahead means you can rest easier knowing you’re ahead of the game.

Habit 2: Using unreliable sources

“Of course it’s true! I read it on the internet!” is a classic joke for a reason. Always question anything you read online, even when the source seems legit. For example, did you know that some sites put out ads disguised as articles? Also, blogs can be great but be aware of the blogger’s background. Some bloggers are experts in their fields and really know what they are talking about. Others are novices with opinions and no evidence to back them up.

When reading a source of dubious credibility, there are a few things you can do to check if they are reliable. Go to the “About Me” or “About Us” section of an article to learn about the author or site’s authority and background. Scan the headlines and a few other articles of the website to judge if the website is fairly objective or leans toward an agenda. Finally, verify the information you’ve found with another source or two…which brings us to the next tip…

Habit 3: Getting all of your information from one source

Getting all a paper’s information from one source might seem like an easy solution, but what if that source is wrong?

Using multiple sources might take a little more researching time, but it also means more evidence that supports your thesis. It is also the best way to help you present a balanced view of a topic.

Avoid plagiarism and make sure your facts are straight by checking at least two or three sources and citing all the ones you use in your paper. That brings us to the last habit…

Habit 4: Forgetting to cite your sources

Your paper is done, and it is beautiful: double-spaced, a neat heading, the perfect creative title. There’s just one thing missing: parenthetical citations and your works cited (or references) page. The annoying part is all that work you just did will be for nothing if your sources are not cited.

Luckily, this part is easier today than it has ever been before! Citation Machine citing tools can help you easily create MLA citations, APA citations, and more! Just remember that you still need review the tool’s form to see if there’s any information you can add from the source that wasn’t automatically included, like a year of publication (often found in the first few pages of a journal or the very bottom of a website).


Master grammar basics with our free guides that talk about linking verbs, what is an adjective, how to use a preposition, and more!

Internship 101: The Dos and Don’ts

Internships can be awesome! They’re a great way to gain experience, see what it’s really like to work in a field that interests you, and to make tons of connections that can help you in the future. Use the tips below to discover what you should — and shouldn’t — do during your internship to make the most of it.


Visit BibMe.org to learn more about our handy plagiarism checker and peruse our free grammar guides to learn about prepositional phrases, find out what exactly is an abstract noun or an adverb clause, and much more!


DO: Bring a pen and paper with you everywhere

An internship is, most importantly, about learning. Most programs have special events for interns with speakers or discussions on topics relevant to their field. Oftentimes, your supervisor will also have check-in meetings with you where they assign you tasks or ask you about your current projects. It is important to always bring a pen and paper with you, as you will never know when you will need to remember something for later. Invest in a nice, small notebook to bring with you to your internship, and you can fill it with all that you learn over its course for later reference.

DON’T: Sit idly

The cliché exists for a reason – interns don’t always have the most glamorous work. Sometimes you will be assigned tasks that seem mundane or simple. Sometimes you might not even be assigned anything at all. This is your chance to show your supervisors that you are reliable, and doing a great job on small things will allow you to build a trusting relationship with them. Even if you have nothing assigned, be proactive and try to ask for more work, see if anyone around you could use a hand, or even read up on current news about the company or your field.

DO: Try to meet as many people as possible

Most places that hold internship programs have a large network of employees that would love to meet young people and discuss their jobs. Choose a couple of people in your office that seem the most interesting to you, and ask your supervisor if they can connect you. Have coffee, lunch, or even an email conversation, and you might make a lasting connection that will teach you a valuable lesson or help you later in your job search.

DON’T: Make a bad impression on your supervisor

Some say that each day of an internship is like a job interview. This can hold true – you probably won’t have more than a semester at your internship, and being dependable and responsible throughout its duration is critical. This means showing up on time, not leaving early, staying off of your phone and social media, dressing professionally, and responding to emails in a timely manner.

DO: Make friends with the other interns

Most internship programs have at least a couple of interns rather than just one. If you all ended up in the same place, odds are you have something in common! Take time to talk to these people over lunch breaks, during events, or even outside of work. It can be a good idea to make a group chat with part of the group so that you all can answer each other’s questions, share your experiences, and make closer connections. These people may end up being your good friends, and they will make your internship experience a lot more rewarding and enjoyable!

DON’T: Forget to thank your supervisors

Supervisors do a lot for their interns, as they make the whole experience possible. Show your gratitude each day through your actions, but also make sure to follow up more concretely before you leave. Schedule a final lunch, and bring a thank you card with you as a tangible representation of your thankfulness. They will appreciate it more than you know!

An internship is the perfect time for personal and professional growth. Done correctly, you can leave with friends, connections, knowledge, and even a job offer! Keep these dos and don’ts in mind, and you should be able to navigate the process seamlessly.


Use BibMe to create your next bibliography in MLA, APA, and Chicago citation styles, or any one of the many citation styles available. There are also articles on how to put together your sources in an annotated bibliography — master your writing craft with our free resources!

Little Tricks to Stay Focused in Class

Let’s face it: Keeping alert in class can be tricky, especially if you have one of those pesky 8 a.m.’s and spent the previous night working late on a paper and APA reference list. While an extra-large coffee might be your go-to for those days you’re especially tired, sometimes caffeine alone can’t do the trick.

Below are tips to help you stay focused in class even on those days when all you want is to go back to bed.


A trick to avoiding plagiarism and saving time on making citations? Use the citing tools at BibMe.org to create MLA citations, APA references, or a Chicago style citation.


Sit near the front of the classroom

It’s tempting to grab a seat near the back of the lecture hall but, you’ll find yourself more alert if you sit near the front where you can easily hear and see your professor. If it’s a 200-person seat auditorium, there’s no need to snag a spot in the first row, but try sitting somewhere in the front half of the classroom.

Put away your phone (and laptop)

Nothing is more distracting than getting notifications for texts, emails, and social media. Put your phone away for class, and try taking notes with a pen and paper instead of on your computer. If you must use a laptop for note taking, put your computer on “do not disturb” to avoid notifications.

Do the assigned reading beforehand

It’s easy to fall behind on course reading — especially if you know you won’t be tested on the material — but you’ll be much more engaged in class if you’re familiar with the subjects your professor is discussing. If you’re having an especially busy week, take the time to at least skim through the reading before you set foot in the classroom.

Bring a snack/drink

When your stomach’s rumbling, it’s hard to focus on anything other than food. Bring a reusable water bottle and a healthy snack — like a yogurt, granola or a banana with peanut butter — with you to class. If you don’t have time to cook a full breakfast prior to your morning class,  make sure to at least pack something light in your backpack the night before.

Get involved in the discussion

Whether there’s a participation grade for a course or not, make sure to contribute to the course discussion — it’s a great way to keep alert! Come up with questions you’d like to ask your professor, or answer questions your instructor poses.

Sit up straight

Good posture is a simple — but effective — way to improve your focus. Instead of slouching in your chair, try sitting up straight, with your feet firmly planted on the floor. You’ll find it’s much harder to get sleepy when sitting perfectly upright than when hunched over. On a similar note, don’t wear clothes that are too pajama-like to class. No need to get too dressed up, but it’s way more likely you’ll fall asleep when clad in sweats instead of jeans.

Chew gum

Ok, this sounds like a weird suggestion, but chewing gum can actually help you stay focused as it’s a repetitive act that stimulates blood flow. You can do other little things — like spinning a fidget spinner, popping mints or lightly tapping a pencil — to keep yourself awake throughout your early morning lecture.


If you’re taking an English class, why not brush up on how to use a verb, what is a common noun, a preposition definition, and more!

Handy Checklist for Graduating Students

Congratulations! You made it through years of college lectures, living off weird campus food, and late nights studying. All that hard work has paid off and you’re about to come away with a degree (finally!). No matter if you’re heading to graduate school, starting a new job, or taking some time off, you should be proud of this major life accomplishment!

Even though you should totally celebrate, also make the time to take care of a few things before you leave college. Here’s a list of a few to-do’s to consider for your final semester.


If you have papers to write before you graduate, try the BibMe essay and plagiarism checker to help refine them! There are also grammar guides that help you understand subject-verb agreement, give you a list of adjectives, learn what are relative pronouns.


Sign up for an exit loan counseling session

This session is mandatory for students who’ve taken out federal student loans and provides important information on how you can pay back what you owe. Luckily, the exit counseling session is easy to check off your to-do list. The entire process can be completed in roughly 25-30 minutes online.

Fill out the necessary graduation forms

If you’re walking in your school’s commencement ceremony, it’s important to file the necessary paperwork so that they’re ready for you to walk the stage. Check your university website to find out what date you need to apply for graduation by. Also, make sure to purchase your cap and gown — you may need to schedule a fitting for the gown — by your school’s deadline.

Visit your school’s career center

If you’re applying to jobs right after graduation, get in touch with a career counselor at your school for advice. The counselor may be able to provide you with contact information from alumni who pursued similar career paths — people who would be great for you to set up informational interviews with! Also, your career center can help you polish a resume or cover letter and prep for any upcoming job interviews.

Review your online presence

Whether your next step is graduate school or the job market, there’s a good chance someone will Google search you at some point. Make sure you’re giving off the right impression. Same goes with your social media profiles: Delete any posts you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see — and make profiles private if you don’t think they give off a professional vibe. Also take the time to give your LinkedIn a refresh! Add any missing information — awards, internships, etc. — to enhance your profile.

Ask professors/faculty members for recommendations

Regardless of your next step, you’ll probably need a letter of recommendation at some point. Determine which faculty members might be good to ask. Do you have a mentor on campus? Is there a professor you’ve taken several classes with? Those are good folks to ask! Be sure to write a thank you letter — and maybe give a small gift — to anyone who agrees to help you in this way.

Prepare for move-out procedures

Unless you’re attending graduate school at the same place you went for undergrad, you’re likely moving to a new neighborhood, city or state following college graduation. This means you’ll need to move out of your dorm or apartment. Instead of putting unwanted items in the dump, re-sell textbooks online and donate gently used clothing. To avoid having to move heavy furniture, see if the new resident of your apartment wants your stuff.


Even post-college, crediting your sources is important! For your citation needs, visit BibMe.org and try our APA citation machine, MLA citation generator, or Chicago citation generator.

7 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Summer Study Abroad

Summer is one of the best times to study abroad. You don’t have to take a break from your normal school schedule and miss out on seeing your college friends, the weather is almost always beautiful, and you get to spend your summer exploring different cultures, languages, and cuisines. Use these tips to make your study abroad as memorable and fulfilling as possible!


BibMe.org is there for your citing needs, anywhere in the world! Cite in MLA formatting, Chicago style format, APA referencing, and thousands of other citation styles, and choose whatever source type you need — we’ve got you covered.


1.     Plan in advance

A summer abroad is a huge commitment, and the thought of departing to a new place for a few months can be very scary! Try booking your flights for your trip and any other travel accommodations you might need well in advance. This will not only be cheaper, but will give you more peace of mind. If you know that there are certain places in your host city that might require reservations (e.g., a really famous restaurant, a super busy museum, etc.), it might not hurt to go ahead and make those arrangements, too.

2.     Travel to neighboring cities and countries

Traveling when you’re abroad is often much cheaper and much faster outside of the USA. Many places in Europe or Southeast Asia are easily reachable by super-fast trains or budget airlines. Take advantage of the cheaper prices and the shorter travel time, and map out a few cities near your home base to explore when you have time on the weekends or a break in your program.

3.     Make friends with other students in your program

Going abroad is fun all in itself – but making friends who can share the experience with you makes it all the better! Even if you do not know anyone coming in to your program, try and form connections by going to dinner as a group or planning outings to museums, beaches, parks, or other fun spots. You may even meet some of your new best friends.

4.     Take pictures

Taking photos is one of the best ways to look back on your study abroad. If you do this in combination with a journal, you will be able to keep some great memories of your trip! Your phone camera is a good place to start, and try buying a few cheap disposable cameras as well. You are sure to have some fun surprises when you develop the film, and this method is better than having your super fancy camera lost or stolen in the streets of a big city.

5.     Dive into the local flavors

Being abroad gives you the perfect chance to explore local traditions and specialties. When you can, try to avoid tourist traps – these will usually be in the main shopping areas (like the Champs-Élysées in Paris or Las Ramblas in Barcelona). The food is usually overpriced and doesn’t taste as great as some of the food you could find in other parts of your host city. If you are going to a city whose primary language isn’t English, avoid eating at places with English signage or menus – this is a sure sign of a tourist trap! Finding authentic local places will leave you with a better taste of how locals act and eat on a daily basis, and you can really immerse yourself into your new home’s culture.

6.     Look for student discounts

There are all kinds of discounts for students travelling abroad, even in the summer. Most museums and attractions will have marked down ticket prices if you show your school ID. You can also look into student ID and travel cards like the ISE or ISIC card if you will be abroad for a while. Some rail lines will offer student discounts as well if you’re trying to travel cheaply. Even if there is not an advertised discount at a place you want to go, it doesn’t hurt to ask! You never know if that answer will be a yes.

7.     Remember the reason you came in the first place

If you are doing a summer study abroad, then that means you need to study– at least a little bit! Use the summer away from the stresses of the regular semester and allow yourself to really invest in your schoolwork. If you’re learning a new language, practice with your friends or host family. If you’re learning about history, take time in museums to read and understand your host city’s past. You will appreciate your surroundings so much more as you begin to know more about them.

A summer abroad can be one of the most challenging and exciting experiences – these memories will last you a lifetime! Refer to these tips when planning your time abroad and you’ll be sure to learn a ton all while documenting the experience and diving into your host city’s culture.


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4 Things English Tutors Wished Their High School Students Knew

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of homework you have for your English class? Do you feel like there’s so much reading you have to do, but you don’t have time for it all? Or do you feel lost when you have to write a paper?

Getting an English tutor can help you succeed in your class. Whether you need help with a book that’s challenging to understand or need help with essay writing, it can be a relief to know that an English tutor can guide you through your class materials and assignments.


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To help your English tutor help you, keep in mind these four things that English tutors wished their high school students knew:

1. It’s a process

Though you may not become a master of English overnight, by putting in a small amount of effort everyday, you’ll slowly become a better reader and writer. What’s challenging about English is that it isn’t necessarily bound by rules; the language is open to interpretation. By making a conscious effort to improve your English skills bit by bit, you’ll be able to one day look back and realize how much you’ve grown. Be kind to yourself, understand that it takes time to improve, and know that your hard work will pay off!

2. Spend five minutes doing light housekeeping before your lesson

Before a tutoring session, gather all your materials: books, notes, you name it! After you have all your materials, make a list of what you’d like to cover during your session. By doing this light prep work ahead of time, you can maximize your time with your tutor. If you want to be even more helpful, contact your tutor a day in advance to let him or her know what you’d like to specifically tackle. Tutors appreciate it when you give them a heads up on what you want to cover!

3. Be fearless and ask questions

Sometimes you might feel too embarrassed to ask questions because you’re scared that your tutor might judge you. You might be worried that your tutor will think you’re dumb.

Here’s the deal: English tutors know that you have lots of material you have to study not just for English class, but all your classes! It’s totally understandable if you forgot what an independent clause is or struggle with understanding a passage. Your English tutor is there to help you and wants you to feel 100% confident about whatever you’re tackling in class. Tutors love questions because questions allow them to directly help you with your struggles. So when you’re confused about something, speak up!

4. Between lessons, make a note of what’s challenging for you

If your teacher goes over a part of a book that’s confusing or reviews a grammatical concept that makes no sense, jot it down and remind yourself to ask your tutor about it. Make a running list of ideas or concepts that confused you during class. English class can feel overwhelming because you go through a lot of material. By the time you have your tutoring session, you may feel completely lost. By creating an ongoing list of things that are challenging to you between lessons, you can ensure that you go over everything that’s confusing when you’re with your tutor.

By keeping these four things in mind, you and your English tutor can work together to make sure you succeed!


You had a great tutoring session and have a firm grasp of the material — time to get writing! BibMe.org is here to help you avoid unintentional plagiarism and provides free grammar guides that can give you a list of determiners, the definition of interjection, and even tell you how to use a subordinating conjunction.