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.

College Trips!

April 4th, 2013

It’s Spring Break and another great trip students are taking this week are to visit college campuses around the United States! Whether it’s a private school, UC schools, State Schools, or Junior Colleges… Spring Break is a great way to start your college journey!!

Here are things to pay attention to when you are visiting a college campus:

1. The location: Is your college in a college town?

2. The dorm/living situation. Do they have nice accomodations? Do you have to share a room or can you ask for a single room? How many roommates?

3. Is there school spirit? Does the school have sports teams and games to watch on campus?

4. Can you get involved? Do they have clubs and organizations you can participate in?

5. Are you surrounded by a big city or fun city events? If you are in or near a city like LA or San Francisco there are always fun events to attend.. i.e.: concerts, museums, amusement parks, beaches, and fun outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and exercising in general – just to name a few!!

6. Do you know anyone who has gone there before or any family members that live nearby the campus?

7. Is it close or near to home? Some kids like to be closer to home and others like to expand their wings and travel to other parts of the country.

There are just a few criteria that you can go through when choosing a college.

You will get many different opinions when choosing the best schools, but according to the National University Rankings – the top 10 schools are:

1. Harvard University

2. Princeton University

3. Yale University

4. Columbia University

5. University of Chicago

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

7. Stanford University

8. Duke University

9. University of Pennsylvania

10. California Institute of Technology