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

Is Freshman Year important?

January 15th, 2013

We are halfway through another school year, and for some of you that means that High school is right around the corner. Since there are 4 years of High School, many students don’t ever think that your Freshman year really is an important year… so I am here to tell you that freshman year really is an important year !! 

Freshman year is a new start for a lot of students…new school, new friends, new teachers/classes.. and every student wants to make a good first impression. For most students, going to a new school can be a big adjustment. Even if you have older brothers or sisters, naturally students will want to pave their own path and create their own reputation. Freshman year will be a chance to find new friends, join interesting extracurricular activities, and adapt to new teachers and their different teaching strategies.

New School: What you decide to do in High School will impact your future… and if you start off on the right track, hopefully your future will turn out bright.
When applying to colleges, they look for not only good grades but also consistency with sports, clubs, and organizations… so when you’re a Freshman, you should try to join either a club or extracurricular that you are passionate about and that you will stick with throughout your 4 years of High School.

New Friends: Usually when you attend High School you will be mixed with new people which is always fun and exciting. These new students could turn out to become some of your closest friends, and Freshman Year is a great way to break the ice and meet new people since you’re all going through the same experience.

New teachers/classes: In terms of new classes and teachers: each year, the learning curriculum will become more vigorous and the work load will become longer and more strenuous. The grades your receive your Freshman year are as important as the grades you receive the most of the years, though Sophomore and Junior year grades are weighted more on your GPA.

Learning to study for Finals will be new to all Freshman, since for most Freshman this will be their first time taking Final exams. Final exams are usually cumulative and there are good strategies to help you when taking the exams. Since grades are always important,  the study habits that you use or learn from others will hopefully improve over time and can help you not only through High School but college as well.

As you can see, Freshman year is very important and can make a good or bad impact on you, depending on your experience. Here’s to a great first year!

 

 

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.