Back to school — there’s something about the phrase that makes us feel giddy. Whether it’s returning to the halls you’ve been strolling for the past few years,  setting up a dorm room for the first time, or heading back to the classroom as an adult with a career, going back to school is always exciting, nerve-wrecking, and, kind of a big deal. And the best part?

The prep: new clothes, new supplies, new books…it’s not something to be taken lightly. With that in mind we turned to a handful of bloggers and vloggers for some tips and stories to prepare you for your most memorable and productive semester yet.

First up: Carly of thecollegeprepster.com, a recent college grad who’s blog covers everything from fashion know-how to study tricks. We asked her to gives us the low down on what back to school is really about.  Added bonus: check out Carly’s back-to-school must haves and get a special discount code for 20% off tarte.com!

Would you wear sweatpants or jeans to class?

I always got dressed up for class. I firmly believe in the “dress well to test well” theory. I also fully subscribe to the “dress for success” theory. I wore jeans frequently (especially during the cold DC winters), but I always paired them with cute sweaters or crisp button downs. Skinny jeans and riding boots? The best combination!

What was your major?

I graduated from Georgetown with a degree in marketing. I was originally a management major but switched after taking Intro to Marketing. At the time, my website was undergoing major growth. I loved being able to use what I learned from my website in class discussions.

What’s your favorite tarte product?

So hard to choose! I didn’t start wearing make up until I was 18 years old, so I feel like I’m so behind in the makeup world. I love that the tarte eyeshadow kits come with guides for application. Fool proof!!! I also can’t get enough of the cheek stains, they’re the perfect dose of color and last all day long.

What is your best school organizational tip?

My best tip is to not overpack. You really don’t need 45 t-shirts and 25 pairs of jeans. I always recommend packing, and then only bringing HALF (or even less) of what you originally planned. Also, investing in under-the-bed storage is a must.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

I go back and forth. I prefer to wake up early, but I can stay up late if I absolutely have to. I used to be a coxswain for the men’s rowing team at Georgetown and we had very early mornings Monday through Saturday. But even on Sundays I would wake up early to go to the library to get work done. Senior year, however, I was completely bogged down with homework and studying (and not to mention my newly formed company) so I was up at 7am (or earlier) and awake until 2:30 or 3 in the morning!  

What are your favorite phone apps?

INSTAGRAM. You can follow me: @collegeprepster!  

Do you take handwritten notes, use a laptop, or rely on your memory?

Most of my classes didn’t allow computers, so I took handwritten notes. Here is a post with my ultimate study tips!!!

Have you ever ditched a class?

Never! I am definitely a rule follower through and through.

Breakfast Club or Mean Girls

Breakfast Club!!! Molly Ringwald is a legend.

What’s your advice for incoming freshmen?

Be open minded. This applies to friendships, professors, classes, majors… really everything. Also…. do the reading!!!! Always, always, always complete the reading assignments. I wrote a book about what I wish I had known during my freshman year called The Freshman 50. You can purchase it on Amazon.com!