Newport Beach College Night

October 8th, 2014

As the summer turns in to fall and the school year takes hold, high school students all over the world become immersed in the complex ritual that is the college application. This task may seem like an unbearably daunting one and the defining moment for the rest of your life (it certainly did for me). However, like the beginning of any grand odyssey it begins with just a few, simple steps. The first of these is learning what your options are. In other words, what colleges are out there and what do they have to offer?

The best place to find this out is from someone who knows about the college or university firsthand. Luckily for those in the Newport-Mesa area, over 200 colleges are sending representatives to the College Fair at the OC Fairgrounds Building 10 tonight, Wednesday, October 8th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.  More College Fair info

Meeting with a representative to find out more about a college is a great way to narrow down your options and figure out which campuses are worth visiting in person.  This college fair is also the perfect opportunity to find out about all of the different programs that a school offers. While you might have your heart set on a particular major or career now, it never hurts to make sure that a potential alma mater also has other programs that you are interested in.  After all, if you are anything like me you want to not only get a good academic education but also meet interesting people along the way.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed about the application process, there is no need to fear. Here at Study Hut we have years of experience with college applications and can help you break down your odyssey in to a few, simple steps. Follow this link to find out more about how Study Hut can help you get in to college: https://studyhut.wpengine.com/packages/college-apps/

Applying to Colleges

April 2nd, 2014

As you begin to think about applying to college, you need to think of different ways to diversify yourself and make your application stand out. You are more than a G.P.A. and an SAT score! How can you challenge yourself to be different? One of the best ways to do so is to engage in meaningful and interesting extra-curricular activities. If chosen correctly, you can greatly improve your application and help yourself land a spot in college. So what types of activities do schools like to see? Below is a list of ten EC’s that may just help you be a slightly more competitive applicant than your friends. Below, I have compiled a list of both general and specific activities. Whatever you decide to do, try to take a leadership role and stay very committed to your role. By no means should your list be limited to ours, nor should you feel obligated to have every activity on your list of experiences. Rather, find something that you love, stick with it consistently, and make a positive impact. The following are organized in NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

 

· Sports: Colleges love seeing students engaged in sports. It shows that you are able to step away from your studies and do something completely different. It shows that you are well-rounded and have abilities in addition to your academic ones. Work hard and try to score a leadership position (such as captain of your team). This shows leadership and good work ethic.

· Student Government: This shows colleges that you can communicate with your fellow-classmates and teachers for things that are important to the greater good. It illustrates leadership, ability to prioritize, and the ability to determine what is important. If you were elected, this also shows that you are able to appeal to your classmates and convince them of your abilities to lead.

· Volunteer for the Underserved (Community Service): This is a very broad topic. This can incorporate anything from providing meals for the homeless to offering medical care to citizens of third-world countries. Whatever you choose to do, make this a priority because it shows that you are a compassionate individual motivated to provide aid to those in dire need.

· Environmental/Animal Volunteering: Help out your local green club or volunteer at the animal shelter. It shows that you spend your extra time helping to make things better than they were before.

· Musical Activities: Are you a musician? Do you have a passion for audible beauty? Find a way to develop this interest. Join a band. Volunteer at a clinic that provides music therapy. Enter in music competitions and win awards so that you show that you have a passion that is apart of you. Colleges like to see passionate individuals involved in these types of things.

· Writing: If you are a writer, do something that requires this skill. Write music, poetry, articles for your school’s newspaper, short stories… Whatever you want! Writing is an invaluable communication skill that colleges love in an applicant. If you can find a club or put your writing in any type of publication (big or small), this will make you stand out.

· Start a Club: If you are interested in anything (hopefully you are interested in something), start an on-campus club. If a club for this interest already exists, come up with another club that provides something different. It brings like-minded people together and engages them in something they love to do. Just as importantly, it shows great leadership and initiative in you as a founder and leader of a club.

· Get a Job: Your parents aren’t the only ones telling you to get a job. Colleges respect the student who works. This is probably one of the less important EC’s on this list. However, it does show that you take responsibility seriously and that you have some degree of understanding of money.

· Learn a Language: Your Spanish teacher may care about the different between por and para. However, colleges LOVE multi-lingual students. Get involved in a mult-cultural club and learn how to speak a different language. It shows that you are more worldly and diverse. It also helps you communicate with a greater number of people.

· Follow your Passion: If you enjoy art, enroll in painting classes and stick with it. Paint as many pictures as you can. If you enjoy science, enroll in a summer research program at a university. This shows that you have interests and that you take initiative in your life and in making yourself a better, well-rounded person.

Finding Your Dream College

March 18th, 2014
Finding Your Dream College
As your junior year winds down, it’s time to start coming up with the list of colleges that you will be applying to. Maybe you’ve had a dream school in mind since you were a little kid, or maybe you haven’t even started thinking about it, but you’ll need to come up with a mix of reach schools, safety schools, and a few in the middle of the road. There are around 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, so trying to narrow them down can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for choosing your mixture of schools, but here are some criteria you can use to find schools that would be a good fit for you.
  • Kind of college- Are you looking for a two year or four year school? Public or private?
  • Location- Do you want to be able to do your laundry and eat dinner at home, or only fly home for winter break from a whole new environment?
  • Size/Setting- How do you feel about being at a school where everyone knows your name? Or would you rather find your niche in a large, diverse student population?
  • Life Outside the Classroom- Do you see yourself in a fraternity or sorority? How important is school spirit to you? Do you want to be able to go to “the big game” every weekend? What about volunteering, or an active student government? What kind of balance are you looking for between being academically challenged and having a fun-filled social life?
  • Major- If you’re not sure what you want to do with the rest of your life, or want a lot of variety before you work on a major, don’t worry! That’s totally normal. If you want a specialized degree, such as engineering, it’s important to find schools that have the right program for you.
  • Cost- This is one of the most important factors in choosing a college. Talk with your parents about college costs, look into applying for financial aid, and research different scholarships.
Once you’ve come up with a manageable list of schools, go on some campus visits to get a feel for the school’s unique vibe. Each school has its own “X-factor” where even if it sounds perfect on paper, it might not feel right in person, or you might fall in love with a school you didn’t think you would. To make your search easier, the College Board website has a school search, information about schools, and background on the application process. Visit https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/how-find-your-college-fit to start searching for the school that’s right for you!

How to pick a major

December 10th, 2012

So long high school! After countless pep rallies, homecomings, track meets, debates, field trips, assemblies, and a prom, you are now ready to become the proud owner of a shiny new diploma and apply for college. But how on earth will you choose a major? After all this is THE most important decision of your life. Your entire future rests on this one choice. And once a decision is made, it can’t be unmade…right? Wrong.

Undeclared. Let’s take the pressure off! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life by your eighteenth birthday. Many students enter college with an undeclared major. If you have a variety of interests or if you lack direction completely, this is the major for you. All first and second year students are required to take classes across multiple subjects. This is going to help a lot! Once you find a topic that is especially interesting to you start taking more classes in that subject. Before you know it you will have a major (or two) emerging.

Declared. You might already have an idea of what you want to study. Maybe you are passionate about cooking, or science, or Spanish. In that case, jump into those classes with both feet! On the other hand, you might pick something because you have a vague interest in it or because you think you can get a stable career in that field. You might end up loving it or you might hate it. Not to worry if it’s not the right path for you. Many students change their major a couple of times before graduation. Not only that, but several majors have overlapping course requirements. That means that multiple classes can be taken that help narrow down options without having to spend excess time (or money) in college.

Employment. After graduation there’s no guarantee that you will actually work in the same field that you received your degree in. But a college degree says more about you than “student is proficient in math”. It shows that you are responsible, capable, teachable, and intelligent. Simply having a degree, no matter what the major, will give you a marked advantage when it comes to getting a job. The 3 most important things to remember as you enter the college years are study hard, play hard, and change the world. Good luck grad!

Should I Choose a Major Before Submitting My Application?

December 4th, 2012

Most colleges are looking for particular students with particular sets of skills, but not all them.  It is important to research what your top choices are looking for.  Stanford is looking for different types of students than is Berkeley, for example.   Many universities are eager to accept students that fit within a narrow range of strengths and weaknesses which means that often times, they want to see your strengths articulated into the major that you’ll be studying.  If you are quite strong in a particular area, you will be showing your potential university that you are committed to that strength and show a particular passion in that field of study.  At the end of the day, universities want to see dedication, diligence, and passion based on your strengths in high school.  Choosing a major upon applying to a university is just one more way to “brand” yourself as a unique student with a real drive for the subject matter.

However, some statistics show that around 80% of college students change their majors, and on average, a college student will change their major THREE TIMES during the course of their college education.  While this may be “normal” it is one of the main reasons college is taking students closer to five years to graduate.  When we get to college each major has specific classes that we need to take, so if we have been studying Psychology for two years and switch to Marine Biology, we are going to have to take a whole new set of classes, rendering the majority of the classes we took for Psychology useless.  While we may have enjoyed the classes we took, we are now two years behind in our Marine Biology coursework.  So in order to get the most for our time and ourselves it is most efficient to pick something we will love to do and stick with it.

If you are not so lucky as to know what you want to study right when you get accepted, there are important strategies that can help us use our time efficiently and not waste priceless time on taking unnecessary classes.   Many undecided students tend to study Psychology and Business, both very popular choices with a large range of opportunities in the future but they may not be what we really want to do.  Here is one strategy that will work well:

There are two main types of classes in college, General Education and Major Specific classes.  General Education classes are usually entry level and have few or no prerequisite classes (classes you need to take before you can take your major class).  While Major Specific classes usually build on themselves so they take more investment time wise.  If we do end up going into a major we are unsure about, it is best use of our time to take mostly General Education classes, and perhaps one major class our first semester.  This way we get our General Education classes (the classes we have to take no matter what) out of the way while still getting a little taste of how we like the major.

If we pay close attention to the classes, we may find there are some major classes that overlap with General Education, these would be best to start your Freshman year with because they give us a taste of the major while also chipping away at the General Education classes we have to take anyway.

But again the number one thing you should consider before you choose your major is “What do I LOVE to do” because in the end that is what will make you happiest, and when you are happiest you will perform your best.  Good Luck future of America!