I’ve always been fairly introverted, but until college I had never felt any significant pressure to be any other way. Socially speaking, elementary school prepared me well for middle school, which prepared me well for high school. I always had structured work time, structured social time, structured free time (leisure hours after school) and structured alone time (home hours after leisure hours). “Me” time was abundant, automatic, and sometimes even boring. I even had my own room throughout middle school and high school, where I regularly hid from the world to relax, reflect, and recharge my social batteries.
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Most colleges have general education requirements outside of one’s major. While this is great, and extremely important, for building a well-rounded student, it can sometimes lead to less than exciting class choices. Having a liberal arts educational base helps many students develop as critical thinkers, but in the moment it may not be the most enjoyable process. Sometimes, it is hard to just get started to study for these classes. If they don’t necessarily connect to your future employment prospects, and it’s something you are utterly disinterested in, here are some things to do to get your excitement juices flowing.
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
You’ve probably heard adults say that college is “an important learning experience”, but you may not have realized that in college, you’re learning more than high-level academic content. For example, the instant you leave your hometown – and with it, your family and childhood friends – to begin life in your college dorm, you’ll be learning how to live with strangers, which, I can say with certainty, is a skill. In fact, your whole social and personal life is going to “restart” once you go to college, because you won’t be waking up to your mom’s or dad’s breakfast anymore, or going to classes with people you’ve known for years. With a few exceptions, you’re going to be surrounded by veritable strangers 24/7, which is a thrilling and a nerve-wracking prospect: thrilling, because you’ll have a chance to meet all sorts of new unique people, and scary because, well, who doesn’t feel a little anxious about getting along with people they don’t know?
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!
At the start of July 2012 (I started early), I was thrilled to move in to the dorms and excited for the year to start. A few of my floor mates had bad cases of homesickness, but since my parents lived only a few miles away from my dorm room, I figured I’d be able to avoid the separation anxiety that so famously plagues new undergraduates.
Congratulations–you’ve decided to study abroad! (If you haven’t yet, read my previous article for 9 good reasons you should take the plunge.) The next step is to decide where to go. If you still aren’t sure, here are a few tips:
I remember when I received my first syllabi during my first week of college, I was amazed to discover that most of my professors would be determining grades based solely on two tests: the mid-term and the final. A few professors also included homework or participation points, but these were negligible compared to the tests; at most, they counted for 15% of the final class grade. And in fact, some of my professors – especially those teaching the large lecture classes, which tended to have 100 + students – didn’t even assign homework. In other words, my professors left it entirely up to us students to figure out how we wanted to learn, memorize, and review new material to prepare for the major tests.
College is expensive. Unless you’re a full-scholarship student, you’re paying for college independently or with the help of your family. Textbooks can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars, study abroad programs demand high fees up front, and even basic living expenses, like groceries, can become a financial drain. Though I’m fortunate to receive a lot of financial aid and scholarship support, I still find myself needing to keep close track of everything I spend in order to stay financially stable. It took me about three years to finally get the hang of it. Here’s what I’ve learned:
College classes are similar to high school classes in many ways, but a few key differences—the amount of control you have over your own education, the lack of close supervision by instructors, the and the academic intensity of your in-class hours—can make the transition from high school to college difficult for some students.
The first semester of college is one of the most unique experiences in the world. For many students, it is their first time living on their own. There are a ton of new opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. For many, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the incredible events and offerings at their school. While there is no way to fully prevent that feeling, here are three things to focus on in the first semester to make sure you are taking advantage of your first year at school.
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.
College is chock-full with financial temptation. You’re eager to explore a new town with new friends, your fashion sense is rapidly developing into cool college kid, and everything in the grocery store looks delicious. If you’re like the majority of college students, you don’t have the funds to buy everything you’d like to—so where should you draw the line?
Electives in college are one of the best educational opportunities available. Outside of your major, you are able to take an extremely diverse set of classes all based on your individual interests. Whether it’s fascination with ancient Roman history or a curiosity about Eastern Asian artwork, there are electives on campus that can help you explore and discover passions you never knew that you had. Here are some tips for making the most out of your elective options and ensuring that you leave college as a well-rounded renaissance student.
Imagine this scenario: you’ve finished high school, you have your diploma, and you’re ready to step off into the almost-real world of college. (Congratulations, hypothetical you!). Now all that’s standing between you and your dream school is this summer – your last summer before the next phase of your life begins. This in-between time can feel exciting, scary, anxiety provoking, and a whole host of other emotions. After all, you are a hypothetical teenager, and emotional stability is not a hallmark of that age group.
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 you get closer and closer to leaving home and embarking on your first year in college, you’re going to hear more and more advice from your parents about what to do and what not to do once September rolls around. If you’re anything like I was at the age of 17, you’ll reassure your parents with a couple of nods, and then completely forget what they said. (You, of course, have more important things to do, like checking Kim Kardashian’s latest tweets).
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!).
As an avid runner, hardcore foodie, and a full-time student, I find it frustrating when people tell me that healthy food is difficult to prepare, or that healthy food can’t ever taste as good as a Big Mac or stuffed donut. I understand where they’re coming from, though; until college, I often thought the same thing. My study food stash was mostly comprised of Cheetos, chocolate-covered bananas, and criminally over-sweetened coffee.
I was a serial procrastinator in high school. However, in college, I had such a heavy workload I was finally forced to improve my study habits.
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.
I distinctly remember the night before my first day of college. It would have been an extremely memorable night no matter what, but the experience of my first panic attack made it particularly memorable. What was this new experience going to be? Was I going to be successful? Were people going to like me? Was everyone I loved going to die in a fire while I was away? My thoughts began to spiral quickly and before I knew it I was having a full on panic attack. Stress and anxiety will always be potential problems as new experiences, important events, and difficult deadlines occur, but here are some tips for college bound students (and everyone else) who may deal with the anxiety of a stressful situation.
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…