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Tips and Tricks

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2017 04:03PM EDT
Here you'll see suggestions on how to handle some of the more frequent things you may encounter while putting together a template and spreadsheet.

The basics
Majors
Degrees
Parents



The basics
 
The most common information appearing in student achievements are the person's name, hometown, major and class year. Here's a couple suggestions for writing a sentence that includes all of this information:

          [John] [Smith] is a [Senior] majoring in [English] from [Albany], [NY].
 
          
[John] [Smith] is a [Senior] [English] major from [Albany][NY].

          
[John] [Smith], of [Albany][NY], is a [Senior] [English] major.

          
[John] [Smith], of [Albany][NY], is a member of the class of [2018] and majoring in [English].

          [John] [Smith] is a member of the class of [2018] majoring in [English] from [Albany][NY].

In addition to the basic information, many schools like to include more information about students' parents, high schools, class years, minors, etc. Here's a couple suggestions for writing a sentence that includes all of this information:

          [Smith] is the [son] of [Joseph and Jane Smith] and a graduate of [Albany High School].
 
          [Smith] is a graduate of [Albany High School] and the [son] of [Joseph and Jane Smith].
 
          
[Smith], a [Albany High School] graduate, is the [son] of [Joseph and Jane Smith].


If you want to use students' genders in your story: Add a column called [he/she] to your spreadsheet and insert the appropriate pronoun for each student. Keep in mind that if you plan to use "He" or "She" at the start of a sentence, you'll need to capitalize it in your spreadsheet.

          [He] is a graduate of [Albany High School].

 
          [He] is a [Business] major from [Albany], [NY]
 
The same thing applies to his/her:

          [Smith] earned [his] degree from the Merit University [School of Business].



Majors

If a student has two majors: Keep the student in one row in your spreadsheet, and add a column called [Major 2]. Include the word "and" in the second major cell so that it fits whether a student has a second major or does not.
 
          [Smith] is majoring in [Business] [and Marketing].

Alternatively, you could include a column with just the word "and":

          
[Smith] is majoring in [Business] [and] [Marketing].
 
Lastly, you may put both majors into your main [Major] cell and include the word “and”.
 
          [Smith] is majoring in [Business and Marketing].
 
 
If a student hasn’t declared a major: Use either “undecided”, “undeclared” or “undetermined” in your [Major] column. For example:
 
          [Smith] is majoring in [undecided].

          [Smith] is majoring in [undeclared].

          [Smith] is majoring in [undetermined].

          [Smith] is [an] [undecided] major.

          [Smith] is [an] [undeclared] major.

          [Smith] is [an] [undetermined] major.
 
 
If you need to insert an article (a or an) before a major: Add a column called [Article] to your spreadsheet. Sort your spreadsheet according to the [Major] column and insert either “a” or "an" into the [Article] column.
 
          [Smith] is [a] [Communications] major.

          [Smith] is [an] [Arts] major.
 
 

Degrees
 
If a student graduated with honors: Add a separate [Honors] column to your spreadsheet. Insert a placeholder for it after the word "graduated". If a student doesn't have data in that cell, Merit will skip it. 
 
          [Smith] graduated [cum laude] with a [Bachelor of Arts] in [English].

          [Smith] graduated [ ] with a [Bachelor of Arts] in [English].
 
 
If you need to insert an article (a or an) before a degree: Add a column called [Article] to your spreadsheet. Sort your spreadsheet according to the [Degree] column and insert either “a” or "an" into the [Article] column.
 
          [Smith] graduated with [a] [Bachelor of Arts].

          [Smith] graduated with [an] [Associate in Arts].
 
 
If a student earned dual degrees: Keep the student in one row in your spreadsheet, and add a column called [Degree 2]. Include the word "and" before the second degree so that it fits whether a student has a second degree or does not.
 
          [Smith] graduated with a [Bachelor of Arts] [and Bachelor of Business Administration].
 
Alternatively, you could include a column with just the word "and":

          
[Smith] graduated with a [Bachelor of Arts] [and] [Bachelor of Business Administration]

Lastly, you may put both majors into your main [Degree] cell and include the word “and”:
 
          [Smith] graduated with a [Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business Administration].



Parents

If you need to work parents in: Add two columns to your spreadsheet. One for [Son/Daughter] and another for the student's [Parents Names]. This is easiest to do if your spreadsheet contains a column for students' genders.
 
          [Smith] is the [son] of [Tom and Jane Smith] of [Albany].


If you're unsure of a student's gender: Use the word "child" in place of "son" or "daughter" in your spreadsheet. 

          
[Smith] is the [child] of [Tom and Jane Smith] of [Albany]

Alternatively, you could use the word "child" in your template instead of your spreadsheet. This eliminates the need for a [Son/Daughter] column in your spreadsheet. 

          
[Smith] is the child of [Tom and Jane Smith] of [Albany]


If a student has a guardian or non-traditional parent: Use either "ward" for "foster child" in your spreadsheet.

          
[Smith] is the [ward] of [Tom and Jane Smith] of [Albany]

          
[Smith] is the [foster child] of [Tom and Jane Smith] of [Albany]


If a student has separated parents: Add a third and fourth column to your spreadsheet for [Parents Names 2] and [Parents City 2]. Not all students will have separated parents, so include the word "of" in the second parent city column. 

          
[Smith] is the [son] of [Tom Smith and Nancy] of [Albany] [and Jane Smith] [of Boston]

Alternatively, you could put all of your parent text into one [Parent Details] column. That column should include the names of each parent as well as their hometowns.  

          
[Smith] is the [son] of [Tom and Nancy Smith of Albany and Jane Smith of Boston].

          
[Smith] is the [son] of [Tom and Jane Smith of Albany].







 

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