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.
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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.
As a junior, you’re actually really well positioned to get a leg up on the college admissions process. You still have some time to complete your testing requirements and you can start to research colleges before the crunch of application season. Here are some things you can get started on right away:
As you are sitting and surfing through the seemingly infinite educational institutions to which you could send the credentials? It is easy to descend into a full-fledged panic attack. After all it’s only the ONE decision that will determine EVERY PROCEEDING MOMENT OF your LIFE. Take a breath, friend! This decision, like many others that determine your surroundings for a period of time, is important. But before you get so stressed you decide to ditch the whole process and start a new life for yourself in Malaysia (a tempting place to start a new life, take my word for it), ask yourself these questions and know that any experience is very much what you make of it.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 2001-2002 and 2011-2012, the cost of an undergraduate education at a public institution has risen 40% and 28% at a private institution. It’s no secret that the cost of higher education is going up and students and parents may be looking for colleges where you can get the most bang for your buck. Money magazine recently posted their annual rankings for the best colleges for your money. The top 10 colleges on the list are:
Most universities offer the opportunity to explore other countries. You may be hesitant to do so, but here are 9 reasons why you should take advantage of your college’s international student programs:
1. Experience new surroundings. If you’re like the great majority of undergraduates (or incoming undergraduates), you haven’t traveled much before, much less on your own. Far too many students never study abroad simply out of a fear of, or distaste for, intense unfamiliarity. Don’t be scared of the fact that you may not have done anything like this before; the study abroad program will help you adjust to your new surroundings, you can work with the students you travel with to learn new things together, and friends and family back home are just a phone call away. If you’re anything like the overwhelming majority of study abroad students I know, once you actually arrive, you’ll find it a lot more fun than daunting.
It’s no news that college is expensive. College finance considerations, however, go far beyond the simple price on a college’s website. Everyone’s financial situation is different, but every prospective freshman should know that in every case – advance planning is key. Here are some guidelines to consider before taking the plunge into your first year.
I came into college with no idea how to find or get involved in extracurriculars, nor did I have any mentors to help me through the process. This (and a general lack of preparedness for the less academic aspects of college life) meant that I didn’t become active in clubs and groups until my second semester of freshman year. While I’m very happy with the groups I’ve come to know and love–I spent two semesters in a hip-hop dance group, I am currently the president of a law club, and have edited for an undergraduate journal–I know I missed out on a lot of opportunities just because I didn’t have much time to explore college before my academic and career planning workload really kicked into high gear. Here are a few tips I wish I had known earlier in my college career.
I have quite a number of friends who participated in The Gap Year, taking a break between high school and college. The results were mixed. As a graduating high school senior, I thought the idea of a gap year was ridiculous (why put off something I had been planning on doing since elementary school?) but now that I’m nearing graduation I see its value a lot more clearly. Here are a few things I wish I had considered three years ago.
Though my junior year was the most academically challenging of my high school experience, my senior year was easily the most stressful. Even though I only took three serious academic courses, none of which were particularly difficult, I found myself consistently swamped with work, short on sleep, and starved of social interaction. Between August and December, I applied to seventeen universities and twelve scholarships, wrote fifteen unique essays, took two SAT’s and three SAT II’s, spent hours with college counselors exploring financial aid options, and maintained straight A’s and a part-time job. The work was certainly worth it—I got more than 90% of my application fees waived, was accepted or waitlisted at 14 of the 17 colleges, and am now a UC Berkeley student studying on a full scholarship—but there are countless ways I could have spared myself unnecessary stress (and gotten a lot more sleep.) Here are a few of the things I’m glad I did (and a few I wish I had done) four years ago to prepare for application season.
Let’s get back to getting creative on your college essay. First take a look at Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this blog series. Once you have brainstormed, refined your ideas, and finally gotten them down on the page, the most taxing part of the creative process is arguably behind you. No longer must you stare into the infinite void of a blank page. However, the fun doesn’t end with the first draft.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I have guided you on how to structure your creative college essay and where you could look for stylistic inspiration. However, by its very definition, the college essay is a personal response to the most common interview question, “Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”
In Part 1 of this series we looked at what makes for a good structure for a college essay. More specifically, we discussed that it won’t look like your typical high school expository essay. Even the most well structured college essay is ineffective without an idea to work with when molding your statement.
Unlike the essay prompt that resides at the start of the SAT Reasoning Test, the “personal statement” essay you will write for college admissions require a considerable amount of creativity. The template-based, mechanically structured essay that impresses SAT graders won’t fare so well in the eyes of an admissions committee, particularly at more selective colleges.
Of all of the decisions facing hopeful college applicants, the choice between admissions tests can be one of the most confusing. Should you take the SAT or the ACT? Do you need to take the ACT Writing Test? Will colleges think less of you if you submit scores from one test or the other? This quick guide provides an overview to understand the ACT.
Choosing which university to attend is one of the first big decisions you’ll make as you move into adulthood. Depending on the institution and location, substantial costs could be involved that impact you and your family’s future. Fortunately, you have literally thousands of options across the United States. One of the first choices to consider is whether an in-state or out-of-state university is for you. It’s not an easy decision, since there is so much more to it than simply cost and location… There are many factors to consider!
The ACT is the most popular college admission test taken by students. Doing well on the ACT can get you into the college of your choice, expands your choice of colleges and may also land you more scholarships. Because your performance in the ACT is crucial to your future, you need to be fully prepared before taking the test.
Today the College Board, the organization behind the SAT, announced sweeping changes to the standardized exam that will launch in the spring of 2016. As College Board president David Coleman promised last year when he announced that a new SAT was coming, the changes are meant to make the SAT less “coachable” and to make it more relevant to what is taught in high school classrooms. The changes also make the SAT much more like the ACT (the SAT’s chief competitor), although you won’t see any mention of that in the College Board’s publicity announcements for the new SAT.
Here at Veritas Prep, we have a long list of reasons to be thankful this year! From our students, to our incredible teachers and admissions consultants, it’s truly been an amazing year.
We are excited to announce that starting today through Monday, December 2nd we are making available our biggest discounts of the year on all of our services (discounts on MBA admissions consulting services will be available through Wednesday, December 4)! Whether you are trying to hit Round 2 business school deadlines or are planning on taking the SAT next year, make sure to take a look at our discounts and register before these prices are no longer available.
Do college admissions officers look at your Facebook page and Twitter posts? The short answer is a resounding “Yes.” It may be a surprise to find out who views your social media pages, and how your posted information can change their mind about you, so be careful when posting personal information.
Once upon a time, high school junior Michelle, in preparation to apply to competitive colleges, enrolled in AP Biology. In her AP Bio course, Michelle studied concepts involving evolution, cellular processes, genetics and how biological systems interact – all at a college level. She also developed better reasoning skills in order to analyze data and think more like a scientist. The following Spring, Michelle took the 3-hour AP Bio Exam and scored a 5, the highest score possible. She mastered the content, received college credit and was able to skip Introductory Bio once she was admitted into her top-choice college.
College admissions season is in full swing now that we’re in the fall. This can be one of the most stressful times for a high school student as well as for hopeful parents who want to see their kids go to great colleges and universities. To make matters worse, the admissions process and landscape can be very tough to navigate and students and parents are not always fully-informed of all the options and strategies available to them to give students an edge in the admissions process. One especially confusing aspect is early admissions programs.
If you’re using a credit card to pay for your college application fees, and will have to borrow a significant amount of money during your undergrad years, it’s important to start developing good money management skills now so you can avoid the “credit card crunch” that plagues many students when they first leave home.
Can’t get away from your Facebook or Twitter accounts? Using social media in your SAT prep is a great way to meet other students and take advantage of resources beyond the Official Guide. Follow these Twitter users to supplement your SAT practice!
To keep all of your SAT and college related tweets in one place, you can create a specific list for these handles so you aren’t distracted by your friend’s updates while you’re solving the free question of the day.
Finding financial aid for college is one of the most important, but also most difficult tasks for parents and students as they go through the process of applying for higher education. To learn where to obtain college funding, it’s very important to look at each of the programs offered by the various players in the financial aid arena. Each player has advantages and disadvantages, and most people will want to consider more than one source of funding.
Extracurricular activities are a crucial part of the college application process that students need to think about well before their senior year of high school. Unfortunately, most students don’t realize how important extracurricular activities are until they start filling out their college applications. Don’t let that be you! Here are 5 tips to approaching extracurricular activities: