What do a student athlete, artist, avid reader, theatre critic, human-rights advocate, literacy promoter, community service opportunity researcher, book seller and junk food junkie have in common? They all are high school students using the Internet to present themselves, their business, or their passion.
A website or blog can be an effective venue to reach a broad audience and further your goals. Your web presence, ingenuity, tech savvy and creativity can also impress college admission officers. Your website or blog can be a great way to communicate your knowledge about a topic, demonstrate your writing skills, showcase your achievements, or promote your business. And, from a college admissions perspective, an impressive Internet presence makes you a more interesting and desirable candidate.
Here are some examples: One student, as an extension of his volunteer work, started a blog about youth literacy which reaches thousand of readers each month and has been cited in other publications. Another teen, a student athlete and Ivy League hopeful, created a personal website as a recruiting tool to showcase his athletic videos and achievements. A third student created a site to buy and sell used textbooks.
You don’t need to be a programmer or even know HTML to build a website or blog. WordPress, a free open-source blogging tool and content management system (CMS), is not difficult to learn and use. It’s plug-in architecture and template system is designed to enable the webmaster to easily add functionaility and customization.
The first step is to acquire a domain name. If your motivation is to showcase yourself (e.g. student athletes, artists, active volunteers, special talents, high achievers), you may want to consider your first name followed by your last night followed by (.com). If your website or blog will focus on a particular topic, pick something appropriate. You can check for availability and purchase a domain name at GoDaddy.com.
The next step is to decide on a platform such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. WordPress is the most popular and easiest to learn. You can use WordPress to build a professional-looking website or blog.
If you decide to create a blog, pick a topic that you’re passionate about. Artists (painters, photographers, musicians, actors and performers) can create a website to showcase their portfolio. One student became so tech savvy building his own blog that he started a website consulting and marketing business. Athletes, and others with significant achievements, can create personal websites to complement their high school resume and activity list.
You can learn WordPress online at wordpress.org. If you are more comfortable learning from a book, here are some popular options: Teach Yourself Visually WordPress, WordPress For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)), Getting Started with WordPress: Design Your Own Blog or Website. There are also many free tutorials available on YouTube.
You will also need a host for your blog or website. GoDaddy and Blue Host offer a variety of inexpensive web hosting plans that provide accessibility via the World Wide Web. Web hosts provide their clients with server space and productivity tools. Many also offer tutorials and support services. You can learn more at BlueHost Web Hosting: Click Here or GoDaddy Web Hosting : Click Here.
Your entire project can be done on a limited budget. You can purchase a domain name for under $10 (per year) and pay less than $10 per month for web hosting.
Author: Lynn Radlauer Lubell, Publisher of InLikeMe.com and Founder of Admission By Design, an Educational Consultancy based in Boca Raton, Florida.
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