Share your advice for college success by sending a blog post or video to chelsie@collegefes.org, or directly via YouTubeFacebook or Twitter @CollegeFES using #Tips4Scholars 


Sarah Merkel, Business Development Assistant, ETS

Michael Cashman, Town Supervisor, Plattsburgh, NY

Hasan Davis, Program Director, College For Every Student

Angel Acosta, Doctoral Student, Columbia University

Cadet Averi Jolly, United States Military Academy at West Point


Dylan Steed, University at Buffalo

Cadet Vaniah Mack, United States Military Academy at West Point

Cadet Nicholas Greene, United States Military Academy at West Point

Amy Frantz, Optical Engineer, Edmund Optics

Hanan Gruhonjic, University of South Florida

Brenna Kirk, New College of Florida


Haley Shaffer, World History Teacher


Kate Clemons, Opera Singer

Sakib Kazi, Pre-Med Student, USF

Kimberly P. Johnson, Children's Author

Doaa Ahmed, Pharmacy Student

Dr. Calvin Mackie, Author


Dr. Lori Walters-Kramer, Professor at Monmouth College

Trevor Carmick, Video Editor

Becky Haley, Producer, Fuse TV

Jimmy Wong, Actor & YouTube Personality

Paula Bachman, Admissions Advisor, SUNY Plattsburgh


Amy Rizzotto, Yoga Teacher, MoarFit in Washington, D.C.

Topper Shutt, Chief Meteorologist, WUSA Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.

Tassandra Loriano, CFES Alumna, Buffalo State College

Kevin Faulner, Kessler Air Force Base

Kate, College of Saint Rose

Justin Lewis, Kessler Air Force Base

Paul Savage, Superintendent, Ausable Valley Central School District

Dr. J.W. Wiley, Director for the Center of Diversity, SUNY Plattsburgh

Steve Broadwell, Superintendent, Willsboro Central School District

Lydia Jun, Sales Representative at a fund distribution firm

Sophie Clarke, Survivor Winner, MD candidate at Mount Sinai

Jasmine Jordan, MA candidate, University of South Florida

Marc Boyle, CFES Alumnus, Marist College graduate

Damen Davis, MA Education candidate, Hunter College

Nour Haidar, Lawyer, London, UK

Erika Wade, Analyst, TGI Office Automation

Andrew Plumley, Diversity Coordinator, Champlain College

Janet Rodriguez, JD candidate, Seattle University School of Law

Bill Beaney, Hockey Coach, Middlebury College

Molly Bernstein, Boren Fellow, Morroco

Andy Ng, CFES Alumnus, New York University

Nejla Calvo & Ed Proenza, JD candidates, University of Miami Law School










 John Sexton, President, NYU

 "Play another octave on the piano. In other words, taste the food you have not tasted, sing the song you have not sung, visit the place you have not been. Find wonder in places and things that seemed unremarkable on the surface but that could be transformed by careful inspection and introspection. Be insatiably curious."



Jim Montoya, Vice President, College Board

Jim has served in a number of leadership roles at Stanford University. Earlier in his career, Jim was the director of admission at Occidental College and Vassar College.

“Interact with all types of people to get the most of your college education. Make a point of spending time with classmates from diverse backgrounds and who have different interests than yours.  Be interested in their perspectives and passions, and share yours with them.  It's never too early to start acting upon this tip, even while you're still in high school.” 


Lisa Hansen, Microbiology Researcher

Try to find an internship or independent research study.  In your senior year, it may be worthwhile to consider an internship or independent research study.  Oftentimes these are able to be done for course credit and give you an invaluable chance to gain experience in your field of interest.  It's difficult to find a job after graduation, but experience will help you stand out in a sea of fresh graduates.”




Say Yes – Porter Braswell, author of Yes, You Can and CEO of Jopwell

Say Yes. Say yes to new experiences, to new opportunities, to things that may initially sound boring. Say yes to that one thing your gut is telling you that you should do but you’re just a bit too shy. When you have that feeling that the opportunity you are being presented could lead to an amazing experience but you are a little too nervous, just say yes.

Saying yes has made all the difference in my life. Saying yes led me to take a ballet class sophomore year in high school because a new dance teacher in my school kept asking me. At the time, I thought the teacher was crazy to even make this request since, I was a basketball player, and because it wasn’t the cool thing to do. In large part I ended up saying yes just to stop him from his persistence. I said yes, and three years later I saw the dance program at my school grow from about twenty girls and three guys that first year to about thirty girls and thirty guys my senior year. It grew in large part because I became obsessed with it, and I told all of my guy friends to join. Taking ballet helped with my agility, balance, flexibility, and jumping abilities. Ballet taught me how to really get the most out of using my feet for jumping rather than conventional wisdom of just using pure strength and muscle. Consequently, I became a better basketball player. My Yale interview was all about what I learned in ballet class and nothing about academia. I said yes and my world changed for the better.

Saying yes allowed me to challenge myself academically throughout my years as a student. When I was in college I had a gut feeling that I wanted to take philosophy classes, but I was too afraid to because of the difficulty associated with them at Yale. I decided to take them anyway because I had that gut feeling telling me I should say yes. Taking philosophy classes turned my world upside down and inside out and when it was done spinning me around, I had a much better understanding of who I am and what I believe in. It was a spiritual journey in a way, and one that most people don’t face until later on in their lives. I was fortunate to really learn who I am and what I believe in very early on in life because I said yes to take very challenging but rewarding classes. When others encouraged me not to, I said yes because I wanted to take on the challenge, and I’m glad that I did.

Regardless of how old you are or what stage you are in as a student, if you say yes you are setting yourself up for unimaginable success. At every stage in life we should always strive to grow. Getting into the habit of saying yes early in life is the best advice I can provide based on what has occurred thus far in my twenty-seven years of living.