Your personal statement is a very large aspect of your college application, and often an element of the application that takes the most time to complete. Your personal statement is your opportunity to show your strengths and qualifications to your target schools while highlighting your accomplishments and differentiating yourself from the thousands of other applications stacked on the table.
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During junior and senior year of high school you will probably receive literally thousands of letters, emails, and solicitations from colleges trying to convince you to apply and attend them. On top of this, you’ll also tour potentially dozens of colleges, adding even more information to your already stuffed brain. Given the sheer volume of this info and the uniform positivity that colleges like to present themselves with, it is no surprise that many students get overwhelmed and don’t know how to sift through it all. If you do feel overwhelmed, know that you aren’t alone. It’s really difficult to differentiate between colleges when all of their mailings seem to be saying the same thing. To overcome this it’s key to train your eye to look beyond the gloss and see the information for what it really is.
If you are anything like me, you change your mind on things all the time. A month ago I liked vanilla ice cream; now I like chocolate. 4 years ago I listened to Eminem; now I listen to Coldplay. I used to believe in Santa Claus; now I’m a bit more skeptical. I could go on, but the point is that I’m 18 years old and my views shift almost constantly. This is totally normal. After all, I would be a pretty boring person if I always stubbornly stuck with the opinions I developed as a little kid. At this point you might be thinking: what relevance does this have to college? Don’t worry, I’m getting there.
The seasons are starting to change and we’re all starting to anticipate the holiday break that is merely weeks away. While the break is certainly a good time for relaxing, drinking some hot cider and spending time with family and friends, there are opportunities to get ahead while catching up on your sleep, too!
Of all the steps in the college application process, interviews might be the most terrifying. There’s no keyboard to hide behind and no time to sleep on a difficult question; it’s live and face-to-face.
These unpredictable elements aside, it’s also one of the easiest ways to demonstrate interest and get to know alumni from a particular college. Just by following these three, simple steps, the college interview can be an enormous benefit (instead of an enormous burden) to chances of admission:
If you’re anything like me, the world is full of too many universities to choose from. I investigated hundreds of colleges in my research, contacted thirty, visited twenty, and eventually applied to ten. I spent months determining the proper formula of schools to apply to: how many was too many? Did I apply to enough options?
Cost is one of the most prominent reasons that high school students choose not to apply to college. After nearly nine years helping students get into college, I can confidently say that you can afford college! There are many sources of financial aid—money that organizations and the government give or lend to you to help you pay for higher education—including grants, loans, work study, and scholarships. Scholarships are attractive because they don’t have to be repaid. Let’s explore the broad spectrum of scholarship resources.
Extracurricular activities are an enormous part of your college application; they’re the main tool that admissions counselors use to imagine your contributions to campus life and culture. They’re also enormous time commitments, so choose wisely. Below are a few tips to help you figure out which ones to choose…
1. Quality, Not Quantity
It’s that time of year again. The excitement and frenzy surrounding college applications is starting to pick up and colleges are trying to put their best foot forward in appealing to high school students around the world. When it comes to appealing to potential applicants, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be highly ranked in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list!
When completing multiple college applications, they can start to blend together and you may find that each application and each college looks like the other. Be vigilant so that you don’t make careless mistakes that will affect your chances of admission. Veritas Prep consultants can work with you to ensure that you are submitting the best applications possible and that you will not run into any of the common mistakes outlined below.
When you first get down to the business of choosing colleges to apply to, the amount of available information that is thrown at you can be daunting. The endless lists of statistics and rankings are difficult to process. The task of actually choosing 8-10 schools that you like more than the rest can seem borderline impossible.
The summer break before freshman year is arguably better than any summer break during high school. You don’t have to study for the SAT or ACT, or write any common app essays, or tour colleges. You can finally relax, spend time with family and friends, and say goodbye to your hometown. (For more on making the most of your last summer, check out this post!) Of course, you’ll have some chores like buying basic amenities for your dorm, choosing classes, etc., but, thinking back to the summer before my freshman year, I know that I found these tasks much less arduous than what it took to get into college.
During the spring semester of my sophomore year at Georgetown University, when the cherry blossoms were blooming in Washington D.C. and students were ditching the library for the front lawn, I was so nervous about choosing my major that I kept putting off the decision – even though the deadline was just over the horizon. I, like many students, found the decision nerve-wracking because I didn’t want to pick the “wrong” major. What if it took me until my senior year to realize that I wasn’t interested in my coursework – that my true passion lay elsewhere? What if the major I chose didn’t open doors for me in the future?
As a high school student, you may have heard about this thing called the “Common Application.” The Common Application is just that; it’s a single undergraduate college application that you can use to apply to over 550 colleges (if you should so choose, however we don’t recommend that you apply to that many!).
At this point, you’ve probably already been inundated with tasks from the college to complete– signing up for orientation, submitting your housing paperwork, registering for classes, sending your final transcripts, and more! Now that you’re entering summer, you’re probably thinking that this is going to be the best summer of your life. And it will be…BUT there are some things you can do to help prepare for the transition to college.
1. Make a list of colleges you’d like to visit by region. If you’re planning a trip to Boston, for example, make a list of the colleges that you’d like to visit while you’re there. Prioritize the list by “must visit,” “would like to visit,” and “nice to visit, but not necessary” so that you can realistically travel to all the campuses.
According to Urban Dictionary, senioritis is: “noun. A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation.”
I’ve come a long way since then. I teach SAT and ACT classes to groups large and small, I thrive in both lecture halls and class discussions, and I’ve become very social. I was helped along in my growing process by the fact that socializing in high school is, in many ways, quite different from socializing in college—the impetus I needed to proactively build social confidence. I wasn’t expecting the difference, so I was surprised at the number of new things I had to adapt to. A few of the most memorable:
With school counselors’ caseloads at an all-time high and student needs going unmet, many students and families are turning to admissions consultants to provide them with the support they need through the college application process.
The first year of college can be daunting. A new school means an entirely new environment: new friends, new living situation, and most of all – new classes. It’s a lot of “new” in a short period of time, and one of the most difficult aspects to get adjusted to is the heightened level of difficulty in class.
Woohoo! You’ve done it! After all the hard work creating beautiful animations on Powerpoint, memorizing the Monarchs involved in the War Of The Roses (the ORIGINAL house of Lancaster before Game Of Thrones co-opted the name by changing three letters), and busting your behinds trying to memorize SAT vocabulary words (only to hear that next year the test won’t have a vocabulary section. Oh the humanity!), you have finally gotten into college! So, now what? Sure you know how to thrive in the bustling world of high school, but how do you succeed when there are no parents to keep you honest about whether you have completed your work, no curfews to keep you home in time to get a good night sleep, and no one there to make sure your laundry gets done and you don’t smell like the inside of a tennis shoe after a marathon? The start of a more independent life is both daunting and exciting. There are a number of paths to success in this new arena, but here are a few ways to make sure that this next step towards adulthood also sets you up for success academically and professionally for years to come.
With the cost of college going up and up, here’s a quick guide to breaking down those costs and some tips on how to save money.
The moment I sent my SIR to UC Berkeley, I was sure I was more than ready to leave high school. College had been the big dream for most of my life–no curfews, no morning classes, no standardized testing (for the most part) and more freedom than I’d ever had before. I knew the city of Berkeley halfway decently already, so I wasn’t worried about the transition. About twenty of my high school classmates, including some of my best friends, were coming with me. I was all set up for an easy, exciting transition to college life.
I absolutely love my major. I’ve been studying international relations since the end of my freshman year; two years in, it’s still my favorite field. I think it’s incredible that seven billion people, despite all their differences and disagreements, are able to coexist through governments and agreements. I love my professors, read the news religiously, and travel around the world to take political science classes from different countries’ perspectives. It’s awesome.
You’re trying to organize your calendar. You have a Spanish Club meeting at 4pm. Happy hour at 6pm. Then you have to come home and pack for your girls trip over the weekend… Your roommate keeps talking about how she bombed her organic chem exam. She keep repeating herself, so head into the kitchen for some peace and quiet. Suddenly you see a mound of dishes…
- Go to office hours.
- Don’t skip class.
- Have a financial plan.
- Make sure you finish your graduation requirements.
- Explore the career center, clubs, and other resources that colleges have to offer outside of classes.
All of this is excellent advice. After all, you probably wouldn’t have heard each one of these fifty times each if it weren’t. I’d go as far as to say these are probably the best five pieces of advice an entering college freshman should hear.
They’re right. Many high schoolers tend to think of college primarily in academic terms–which isn’t wrong, since it’s hard for someone who has never attended college to fully realize how much social, emotional, personal, intellectual, and sometimes even spiritual growth happens there. College students discover that they have more freedom and independence than most of them have ever experienced in their lives, so they quickly begin exploring new ideas, new friend groups, and new ways of thinking. In this fascinating, and sometimes dizzying, rush of new experiences and self-discovery, it’s easy to forget that the whole thing will only last about four years.
The following interview comes from testprepstore.com. Testprepstore.com recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A session with Jonathan Er, one of Veritas Prep’s expert ACT instructors, to inquire about the ACT and get his take on the questions that many college applicants would like to ask with regards to ACT prep courses and how to be successful at achieving their desired ACT score.
The biggest myth surrounding the college experience is that there is a conventional “way” to do college. The truth is, like anything in life, a college experience is relative to your personality and circumstances. There is no right or wrong way to do college, instead there are a bunch of different ways to ensure that you have a great four years on campus. Some students want to have fun and party. Others want to hone their skills and prepare for graduate school. Some want to make connections in order to ensure job security. Most want a mix of these elements.
The following interview comes from testprepstore.com. Testprepstore.com recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A session with Eric Fischer, one of Veritas Prep’s expert SAT instructors, to inquire about the SAT and get his take on the questions that many college applicants would like to ask with regards to SAT prep courses and how to be successful at achieving their desired SAT score.
One of the best kept secrets about succeeding in college is that it’s pretty simple: Show up.
Much like the director Woody Allen famously said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” In college that same rule applies. Show up to class. Show up to office hours. Show up to review sessions. Of course, this alone won’t guarantee you an A in organic chemistry, but it certainly goes a far way in advancing your cause.
Many students create their college list based on the US News & World Report rankings or Associated Press Football Bowl. However, students are much better served by reviewing colleges and considering other important factors that may not be as glamorous as school prestige. Here are three that are often forgotten but play a major role in your day-to-day life on campus:
The great leap is upon you! So far you have been a star pupil in High School and there is no reason to believe that college will be any different, right? Right?! You begin to panic in the way only the young have really mastered, imagining the hundreds of pages of reading you’ve heard about, the “weed out” classed where half the students fail, and distracting the frat parties, how can a person NOT fail in this crazy environment? This is an inevitable, and not wholly unproductive, question.