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.

Manhattan Beach Middle School Scholar Quiz

May 21st, 2013

The Manhattan Beach Middle School Scholar Quiz starts tomorrow and we are so excited to be able to help volunteer throughout the next few days to make the scholar quiz the best it can   be!!

Louise DuMont is the Volunteer Coordinator for the MBMS Scholar Quiz and we are excited to be working along side her! 

Our jobs are listed below:

Rob  – Reader
Sean – Reader
Sam – Reader
Nicole – Flag Judge
Rhiannon – Flag Judge
Kristen – Scorekeeper
Rita – Scorekeeper
Ashley – Scorekeeper
Mason – Scorekeeper
Andrea – Scorekeeper
Jeff – Alternate
Andrew – Alternate

THE COMPETITION:

 The preliminary rounds will be held May 22-24, continuing May 28 – 31 during lunch (12:30 – 1:05 pm) in various classrooms at MBMS.  The first day, May 22nd, runs a bit longer (12:30-1:20 pm) because two rounds of the competition occur that day. The Finals are scheduled for 1:15 pm on Friday, May 31 in the MBMS MPR.

 On our assigned volunteer days, we will sign in at the Volunteer Check-in Table at the front entrance to MBMS no later than 12:00 noon.  A brief volunteer meeting will be held each day after sign in.  The competition begins at 12:30 p.m. sharp!

 Scholar Quiz is a single-elimination event.  Only the winning team from each preliminary match will move on.  This means that at the end of every round, only half the teams advance.   Due to the number of teams competing, two matches will be played in each room on the first day of competition.

 THE QUESTIONS:

 Questions for the competition are taken from the areas of Math, Science, Literature, Grammar, Social Studies, Geography, the Arts, Sports, and Popular Culture.

 Each round of the competition is divided into two parts by a 1-2 minute half-time.

 Three types of questions will be asked — Toss-Up, Bonus and Lightning Round:

 1)Toss-Up Questions:  Both teams have 5 seconds, after the reading of the Toss-Up question is completed, to answer.  For Math questions, 10 seconds are given.  With Toss-Up questions, if the first team to answer does so incorrectly, the second team is given an opportunity to answer immediately.  The question is not re-read for the second team, nor is an additional 5 seconds given to answer.

 2) Four-Part Bonus Questions:  ONLY the team which correctly answered the preceding Toss-Up question may answer this question.  Teams have 20 seconds to confer before the Team Captain must immediately provide all four answers.

3)Lightning-Round Questions:   Both teams have 1–2 seconds to answer these 10 rapidly-delivered, theme-related questions.  With Lightning Round questions ONLY, if the first team to answer does so incorrectly, 5 points are deducted from that team’s score AND the second team is NOT given an opportunity to answer.

 ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS:

 Players will signal they are ready to answer Toss-Up and Lightning Round questions by raising their flags.  The first person to raise his/her flag receives the first opportunity to answer.

 If a flag is raised and a team is called upon to answer BEFORE the reading of a question is complete, the question will not be finished being read and the team must answer immediately.  If the answer is incorrect, the reading of the Toss-Up question will be completed for the second team.

 SCORING:

·   Toss-Up Questions:  5 points each.

·   Bonus Questions:  divided into 4 parts, each worth 5 points, for a maximum of 20 points.

·   Lightning Round Questions:  5 points if answered correctly.  However, 5 points are deducted for an incorrect answer.

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.