by Ryley Gregorie
In the winter of 2008, Carly Heitlinger (MSB ’12) was completely overwhelmed, a feeling any Georgetown student can relate to. As a freshman, she was struggling to adjust to life away from home and her new college courses. In the midst of studying for finals, her friends encouraged her to start blogging as a creative outlet, and thus, The College Prepster began right out of her Harbin dorm room.
Six years later, Carly is living in New York City blogging full-time. She has been featured in Teen Vogue and partners with brands, such as Lily Pulitzer. Best of all, she’s always willing to share her experience and acknowledge with fellow Hoyas.
Thirty Seventh: How did The College Prepster start to gather a following and when did you realize you could turn the blog into a business/full-time career?
Carly: I blogged for over a year before gaining any kind of “traction.” My readership/following went up organically with the growth of social media. When Twitter became more popular on college campuses it really helped my blog grow. I started to treat my blog as a business when I realized brands wanted sponsored content. I thought maybe my blog could help my career (i.e. use on my resume to get a job), but it was a while before I realized I blog full time.
TS: How do you balance documenting your life on the blog and maintaining a certain level of privacy? Where do you draw the line?
C: I always follow my intuition when it comes to privacy. I post geo-tagged Instagrams after I’ve left, ask friends if they’re okay with me tagging them or putting them on my blog, and only post about something if I want to.
TS: Was moving from DC to New York a big adjustment? What advice do you have for post-grads headed to the city?
C: I had spent so much of my senior year shuttling between DC and NYC on the weekends that adjusting was pretty easy. If anything, it was a relief that I didn’t have to get on a train Sunday night to go back to school! For students heading to the city, I recommend visiting often or getting an internship over the summer. If you’re familiar with the city, that’s half the battle!
TS: How has the blog evolved over the past six years?
C: My blog has definitely evolved since I first began. I feel like the growth has been pretty organic and in line with my own personal growth!
TS: What are your goals for the blog? Is there anything specific you still hope to accomplish?
C: I definitely want to continue to grow my blog and break into more traditional media outlets.
TS: What advice would you give your freshman self?
C: Relax more and take advantage of living in DC. I spent way too much time stressed out and not enough time exploring DC.
Rapid Fire Questions
Most underrated spot in New York City: Central Park. Some people might think it’s a tourist spot, but it’s amazing! There are so many different areas to explore. Plus, before 9am you can let your dog run off leash. Teddy loves it! It’s such a fun way to start the morning.
Favorite class at Georgetown: Entrepreneurship
If your wardrobe could only come from one store it would be: J. Crew
Go-to brunch order: French toast.
Desert island books: My Sister’s Keeper, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Boys in the Boat
Favorite emoji: The cat with heart eyes
Favorite photo editing app: VSCO cam
Fashion blog you admire: My friend Julia’s blog Gal Meets Glam
If you want more advice from Carly on style, successfully surviving New York City, or life in general, check out thecollegeprepster.com for yourself. And, if you’d like to hear Carly speak in person about her career progression and establishing her own brand, you can catch her at the OWN IT summit on Saturday, March 28.