Going away to college

April 11th, 2013

Yesterday, our RB Office Manager had a meeting with a student named Claire and her dad Jeff!! She is a Junior in High School and about to be a senior… and JUST now decided that she wanted to take the ACT.

The girl does well in Science and scored a 27 on her ACT Diagnostic test. Claire told our RB Office Manager that she had taken the SATS but about a year and a half ago, so not very recently.

The problem the student had was that she has been so focused on her grades and pin pointing exactly what she wants to major in, instead of focusing on what school she wanted to go or the area she want to live in.

Claire was focused more on her future and where her major was going to take her, that she did not stop to think about what location she wanted to go to college at, or the area she wanted to surround her self by.

When going to college, you have to think about not only what school you want to go, but also the area you want to live in. From LA to New York, there are so many schools across the United States, and each city is so different and unique, and each offer different things.

Make sure to spend time at the colleges of your choice, because it’s not only about the education, the classes, and the majors a school may offer, but the city it’s it or the surrounding area can also make a huge impact on your college life in either a positive or negative way.

College can last anywhere from 3 – 6 or more years and you want to make sure you choose a college where you are going to get a great education, but you have to make sure you can feel at home and feel safe and secure in the area that you want to live in.

How to pick a major?

January 12th, 2013

When it comes to picking a major, it may not always be an easy choice. For certain students, they grow up knowing exactly what they want to be in life…. a fireman, a police officer, a doctor, a lawyer… the list goes on and on. However, for other students picking a major may be like getting teeth pulled… frustrating and painful.

During those 4 years of high school, some students begin to realize where they want to go to college and/or what they want to major in once they get there. The list of majors to choose from will differentiate depending on the University you attend. Usually, the larger the university, the more options of majors the University will offer. Many times, students will come across majors that they’ve never heard of.

So, how to pick a major you ask? Here are a few tips to help pick a major that you both enjoy and that will either impact your career or help you in the future.

1. Take as many lower-division classes as you can so that you experience a variety of classes that you might not have thought to major in.

2. Make a list of activities that you are interested/passionate about, that way you may be able to find a major that coincides with things in life that you enjoy.

3. Try to find a major that you could see becoming a career for you in the future. Therefore, you can study a major you enjoy learning about and hopefully your major will help you find a career that one day you will get paid to do. Sometimes, students choose majors that they are interested in, but then struggle to find a job after college when they can’t find a job that’s related to their major.

4. Pick a major that gives you a variety of different work to do. You don’t always want to be writing long essays. Hopefully your major offers you internships, hands on work, and first hand experience within your field. You want to have a variety of knowledge and experience when creating a resume and trying to find a job/career once you graduate.

Picking a major can be difficult but once you find the right major for you, hopefully you will enjoy going to class and learning new things about that major.

Whether you have known for a long time what you want to do in life, or just started thinking about it… college is a place to grow and learn a lot about yourself. College is a great learning experience and if you pick the right major… it can make going to make your college experience that much better!!

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!