Archive for the 'Helpful Hints' Category

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Sasha, Class of 2012

As a Potsdam student and a geek (and a student assistant with the campus CTS [Computing and Technology Services]), I know a bit about what works best for students computer use. Although many colleges require students to have their own computers, SUNY Potsdam does not. That being said, most students seem to own their own laptop or desktop.  However, some students (and parents) go into the laptop purchase realm ill-prepared for the task. Here’s some tips to make the process a little less painful:

First, if you have a fairly new notebook (about two years old), then you don’t have a reason to get a new one. Keep the software on it up to date with the latest patches and updates, and you should be fine. I’ve had my Mac notebook (an old MacBook Pro) since high school, and although I would love a new one, that just isn’t going to happen.

Second, get a machine that you will be most comfortable with. I am comfortable with both Macs and PC’s, but you might not be. But here’s the good news: Macs can run Windows with some special software for your machine and anything you can do on a PC you can do on a Mac. If you wanted, you could even try getting a computer with Linux installed, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Third, unless you are really stuck to a budget, splurge a little on features that you WILL need. I like having a little bit of a larger screen. And if you are not entirely a notebook person, you could always get a small desktop.

Fourth, Macs are a bit pricey for what you get and do have some liabilities unlike PC notebooks: first, Mac notebooks are not really user maintenance friendly when it comes to hardware (and yes, having your notebook’s LCD shatter is common and in some cases it will cost you more to fix than the laptop is worth itself). However, Macs are nearly free of viruses, are sleek little machines and run fast.

Lastly, SUNY Potsdam’s CTS webpage has some tips on getting a machine for your personal use: <> For instance, I have avoided buying Microsoft Office and I am very happy I have. (In fact, I wrote this using’s Word application).

Follow these steps and you will find that you will have a happy and comfortable time using a personally owned computer on campus!

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Derek, Admissions Counselor

Losing touch with friends from home is one of the biggest fears among first year students coming to SUNY Potsdam.   Totally understandable, right?  When I left high school, I was worried about the same thing.  But it shouldn’t have been a worry of mine at all!

One of the best memories I had from my freshman year at SUNY Potsdam was when my best friend from home came up to visit!  It was so fun for me to have her meet all of my “Potsdam Friends”.  We had a blast!  My “Potsdam Friends” loved her, and she loved my Potsdam Friends.  We did EVERYTHING so she could get to know my new surroundings!!!!  We went out to dinner, hiking, went on a canoe and even had time to sleep as well!

It was so cool for me to have a piece of my hometown in Potsdam and just as cool to send my best friend back with a little piece of Potsdam.  It was really neat to bring both places together!  Going away to college does not have to be synonymous with leaving your childhood friends behind.  Invite them to Potsdam or go visit them.  It will work if you want it to.  Trust me!

Thursday, January 7th, 2010


Tom Nesbitt, Director of Admissions

Happy New Year!  It is my first Blog entry of 2010 and I am excited about the road that lies ahead.  This is particularly true in the world of Admissions as all parties involved in the college selection process have focused down lists, applications have been submitted, decisions have been/ are starting to be made and families are making their way through the FAFSA while also looking for scholarship opportunities.

The next few months will be filled with colleges and universities trying to connect to accepted students.  More visits will be made, financial aid packages will arrive and the next generation of college students will have to sort through all of the information in order to make a decision as to where they will continue their education.

I want to offer a couple pieces of advice as you wind through this process.  First, don’t feel like you are alone.  Family members, friends, school counselors and teachers are all more than willing to provide assistance as you wrestle with making your final decision.  In addition, the college representatives who have worked with you can also provide valuable feedback.  Sure they would like to have you pick their campus but, in the end, they want you to go where you are going to feel most comfortable.

Second, try to relax and enjoy the prospect of having multiple places tell you that they want you to become a part of their family.  It is nice to be wanted.  That said, sometimes the most stressed I see students is when they have finally made the decision and now have to tell the other campuses.  As stated above, representatives want you to go where you feel most comfortable.  Once that decision is made, the rest should be easy.

Learn from my mistake. Make a decision and then call or e-mail the other schools to let them know.  I remember making my selection and then figuring the others would just stop calling.  One institution kept calling and sending mail and, finally, in mid July, I answered their call and told them I was not going to their school… they simply asked where I was going, wished me well and that was that.  I never heard from them again… that is until I started presenting on their campus on an almost annual basis.  Nice campus, nice people… but I still know I made the right decision.

Third, when confronted with what seems like an impossible choice, meaning you can’t narrow it down because your final two or three campuses are just so close, I highly recommend heading back for a full day visit where you see the campus again, sit in on some classes, have a meal or two, meet with financial aid or coaches or anyone else that may be important to your success in college… do it all!  After doing it for a second or third time, you’ll know!  Trust me.  We see some families so much during the selection process it feels like they are permanent fixtures in the office.  I like to think of it as a built in Student Tour Guide recruitment program.

The best question I have ever been asked when touring a family around campus was if I had to make the decision again, would I have chosen the same school.  You can tell a lot about a campus based on the answer to that question as well as by following up with the second question of Why?  Ask the guide, the counselor, the professor and random students those questions.  You might be surprised by what you hear and it might just make a difference in your final decision.

My last piece of advice for this piece is to try to have fun.  Your final year in high school represents the culmination of hard work and dedication under a structured and supervised environment.  It is a celebration that you are ready to move into the next stage of development, of life.  It is supposed to be a fun and exciting time of transition.  By using all of your resources in the college search process you can not only prove you are ready for the transition but you will also be free to enjoy your senior year.

In Admissions, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  We will be in touch and also stand ready to assist you.  Until next time…

Friday, April 24th, 2009

This phrase is what keeps going through my head as I sit to write this blog (my first blog ever). Have you ever felt this way? Like you’re trying to do something (whether for pleasure or because it has been assigned to you) that just doesn’t fit within your comfort zone, and you don’t know if you want to try for fear of failure? If so, I have too.

When I graduated from high school I was the stereotypical straight “A”, super shy girl who was about to embark on something completely out of my comfort zone: College! I didn’t think that I was ready to be on my own, so far from home. Heck, I didn’t even know how to do laundry. So, in my head came the words “I am not a college student, I am not a college student…”. Now, I’m sure some of you reading this can relate to my anxious feelings while others of you have probably been ready to go away to college since kindergarten. Regardless, the lesson of this story is that I went to college. I became a college student. I did things that I never thought were “me” but helped shape the “me” I am today (studying abroad, interning at a large international corporation, falling in and out of love, failing an exam, etc.).

**note: at this point I think I’m starting to sound like a bad afterschool special,
but I don’t care because I’M WRITING A BLOG!!**

For those who have decided to attend SUNY Potsdam in the fall, please promise that you’ll be open to absorbing all that this college here has to offer (whether it be a new club, intramural sport, volunteer opportunity, or travel/research experience). Please be open to new experiences and get the phrase “I am not…” or “I can’t…” out of your vocabulary.

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Trying to figure out how to pay for college?  SUNY Potsdam helps lessen the financial stress by offering several scholarship opportunities.  Click the links to learn more.

Freshman Scholar Program – deadline Feb 15, 2009

Mt Emmons Scholar Program – FULL Scholarship [based on in-state tuition] – deadline Feb 15, 2009

Transfer Scholar Program – deadline May 1, 2009

Alumni Scholarship – [for students with a parent OR grandparent that is a SUNY Potsdam alum] – deadline Feb 1, 2009

Various Scholarship Listings

Learn more about Federal Grant Programs:

TEACH Grant – Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education

ACG – Academic Competitiveness Grant

Smart Grant – for your third and fourth year

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

While application deadlines are fast approaching for many other colleges, SUNY Potsdam’s rolling admissions policy allows us to continue accepting applications well into the future.  Although we strongly encourage students to submit their applications now, we also realize that plans can change.  Perhaps you have recently discovered our campus for the first time and the opportunities waiting here for you.  There is still time to visit the campus and apply for Spring 2009 or Fall 2009.  Check out these two links to get started: