Productive Day at our El Segundo Study Hut Location Yesterday!!

March 26th, 2013
Today we are talking all about the El Segundo Study Hut Office!  We provide a wide array of services, from subject tutoring to test prep to help with college admissions.  Our team of experts can tutor almost any high school subject through the AP level.  We also have tons of experience with training for the SAT, ACT, HSPT, ISEE, GRE, and many other tests.
The El Segundo Study Hut had a very productive day yesterday and we wanted to share some highlights with you all !!
Key features and highlights:
1. We signed up an AP Calc kid
2. We trimmed up the outside (we consider it the most lush hut)
3. We prepped the tutors for the next 12 weeks – since Summer is right around the corner and we need the students to keep on track during the summer to make sure they don’t fall behind.
4. We added a computer station
5. We posted AP diag dates (same as Manhattan’s) – which were March 24th and the next one coming up is April 20th!
6. We replenished materials for all the SAT subject tests
7. We graduated to a housekeeping service
8. We planned a tutor gathering
9. We found a spot to hang the surfboard
10. We put an order in for an espresso maker
11. We ordered a new shipment of after school snacks
12. We dusted the corners and behind the bookshelves

13. We stocked the mini fridge

14. We added a whiteboard
15. We added new indoor plants to the family
The El Segundo Study Hut is located on Arena Street in El Segundo off of El Segundo Blvd. Co-Owner SP and others built the Tiki Hut that is pictured above!
While the majority of our students walk or drive over for tutoring from El Segundo High School, El Segundo Middle School, Center Street School, and Richmond Street School, we also work with students from all over the lower Westside.  We tutor students from Westchester High School, St. Bernard High School, Hawthorne High School, and even Palisades High School, as well as Marymount, Notre Dame, and Loyola.

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!

What Colleges Care About Beyond Your GPA and SAT Score

November 14th, 2012

Ask any high school student, or their parents, what they consider the most important things to work on when applying for college and most of the time the answer is GPA and SAT scores. While your high school GPA and SAT scores are extremely important factors in getting into college, in many cases, there exists a 3rd factor; a factor can get you into your reach schools or get you rejected from target schools. That important 3rd factor is your extracurricular activities. It should be stated that different school systems weigh extracurriculars different than others. For example, UC’s put a lot of weight into an applicant’s extracurricular activities, while the Cal-State Schools (SDSU, Cal Poly, long beach, etc) essentially do not. Although if you intend on going to a Cal-State, you should still invest time into extracurricular activities in case you change your mind about your college destination.
I cannot emphasize how important these application builders are, as they act as a double edged sword: having many activities significantly helps you, while a lack of them significantly hurts you. Colleges want to accept unique well-rounded students. They prefer not to fill their student bodies with mundane cookie cutter students. They want their student body to be diverse and full of students that have experienced more of the world than exists outside the schoolroom. Extracurriculars demonstrate this to colleges. They show leadership skills, your personality, and other qualities not measured with test scores and grade averages. They can take a student with less than average grades, and transform him/her into an interesting and accomplished applicant. As I stated earlier, the reverse is true. Just as a lot of strong extracurricular activities can say a lot of about you, so can a lack of them. Having no strong extracurricular activities makes you appear dull, boring, and uninspired; especially when you consider the fact that many of the other applicants you are competing with have them.
The best part about extracurricular activities is that they are abundant and easy to get involved with. They range from holding positions in clubs and other organizations, to volunteer work, to sports outside of school, to community events, and in many cases to your own hobbies. Do you feel particularly strong about an issue, subject, or cause? Chances are there is an organization you can get involved with that addresses it. When preparing for college apps don’t get too obsessed with your GPA and test scores that you neglect the 3rd piece of the application pie: extracurricular activities.

Starting The College Essay: A letter to future college kids of America

November 9th, 2012

Dear High School Seniors:

The time has come to reap the benefits of all these years of classes, extra curricular activities, and sacrificing TV hours for extra study time. This time next year, many of you will be in your first semester of college … but where?

October and November are the crunch months for college applications. The UC Application, which opened October 1st, is due November 30th – a mere month away. Many of you are applying to multiple schools around the country, and you are currently in the midst of answering several open-ended prompts along the lines of, “What characteristics define you?” and, “Name an event that shaped your life.” Or, maybe you’re tackling something like the infamous University of Chicago prompt: “How do you feel about Wednesday?”

How do you even start to answer a prompt like that?

The best way to start is with a brainstorm. Spend a couple days just thinking before you even open a Word document and start to type. If the prompt asks you to reflect on an event in your life, or a quality that you possess, think honestly about who you are. Ask your friends and family what they think your best characteristics are, and ask for examples of how you embody those qualities. Look through photo albums, listen to your favorite music, think of events in your life that changed you and helped to build the person that you are today.

Next, narrow down your top options. Think: Does this story portray me in a good light? Does it make me seem smart and introspective? Do my actions embody attributes that would make me a good college student?

Remember that college admissions officers read thousands of essays each day during admissions season. They are looking for potential students who will thrive at their university, excelling in courses while adding insight and individuality. They want students who will enhance the university’s community by volunteering and becoming involved. Most of all, they want to see that you are a well-rounded person who is serious about education, but also has interests that extend beyond the classroom and can enrich the lives of other students. They’re building a community, not just a class.

So, just be you. Or – even better – be the most insightful and interesting version of you. Tell the truth, but tell it in an interesting way that will stand out from the other essays. The best way to do this is to try to show the readers who you are, rather than just telling them. Try telling a story that shows your best characteristics, or an example of how a Wednesday changed your life. Be unique, be concise, and be articulate.

And if you get stuck, be at The Study Hut. We’ll help you get inspired.