Tag Archive | college tips

The College App Process: A Parent’s Guide

The Education Conservancy developed this handy list of guidelines for parents:

  • Recognize that gaining admission to college is merely one step in a process of education that will include your student attending a college where she or he can maximize talents and growth. Emphasize the education.
  • Resist doing for your students what they are capable of doing for themselves.
  • Allow your child to take responsibility for his or her own part of the college application process. Be involved in the process, but do not try to control it.
  • Resist relying on rankings and college selectivity to determine the most suitable colleges for your child.
  • Realize that researching, selecting, and applying to colleges does not have to be an expensive process.
  • Resist attempts to turn the process into a status competition. Develop a healthy, educationally based, and family-appropriate approach to college admissions.
  • Consider that gaming the system may not only diminish your child’s self-confidence, it may also jeopardize desired admission outcomes.
  • Listen to, encourage, and believe in your child. Do not use the term “we” as in “we are applying to…”
  • Discuss the idea of education as an ongoing process, and how selecting a college might be different from buying a product.
  • Love them enough to let them demonstrate the independence you have instilled in them.
  • Keep this process in perspective. Remember that student skills, self-confidence, curiosity, and desire to learn are some of the most important ingredients in a quality education and successful college admissions. Do not sacrifice these by overemphasizing getting into the “best” college.
Help your students prepare for college by using CAP, the interactive and social way to prepare for college at: www.collegelifeplanning.com/workshop

Some “Before College” Tips

These are some great tips if you’re going away to college!

Amplify’d from www.college-freshman.com

Before College Tips

Tips and Information a college freshman should know before college

Don’t Miss Orientation

Orientation will be your first chance to meet new people, and at some schools find a roommate. It will be your first experience to see the major parts of the school, and understand the rules. This is very important so you know what you have to do to stay in school.

Contact Your Roommate

Freshman typically are assigned roommates the first semester of college. It may not seem important at this time, but this is critical to get in touch with your roommate as soon as possible. Moving in (you will find out soon) is a very stressful and annoying time. By talking to your roommate ahead of time, you can find out what kind of person they are, what you have in common, and you can figure out who should bring what.

Figuring Out What To Bring

Make sure you contact your roommate before you start this step. Trying to figure out what to bring from your oversized room in your parents house to your new cramped dorm room will be tough. See our What freshman should bring to college page for more information.

Get In Shape

Now is your opportunity to get in the best shape of your life, and have one of the hottest body’s on campus. Try to eat right and work out regularly so you are in top shape for your first appearance at college. Note: if you are attending a school in a warmer climate, this goes double for you. Most schools have warm temperatures during at least the first few weeks of school. Girls will lay out in bikinis to get sun, guys will play basketball and volleyball (if available) and most people will be showing lots of skin. Being in shape will put you at an advantage for meeting people on warm sunny days.

Save your money

Did you get a lot of money for graduation? Save all of it for college. If you are going to spend any of the money, make sure its for college (clothes for college, etc.) Don’t spend it on anything that is not college related especially your car (see forget your car section below). A Freshman does not need a lot of money in college, but having it in the bank will definitely help. If you plan on joining a fraternity or sorority, or going on spring break, or going to the local mall, all of these things cost money, and you will be able to take advantage of more opportunities if you have some extra cash in the bank.

Forget your car

At most colleges and universities, your car means nothing. Most schools don’t allow a freshman to have cars on campus, and if they do, chances are no one in college cares what kind of car it is. All college kids care about in college is a form of transportation. So forget your chrome rims, your $2,000 stereo, your tinted windows, exhaust… all worth nothing at college. All these things were cool in high school, now you are in college, let it go, buy some nice clothes, and meet some people. You may not believe this now, but a few years from now you will realize this information was right on.

Read more at www.college-freshman.com


Top Ten Things the Prospective Online College Student Should Be Doing

Top Ten Things the Prospective Online College Student Should Be Doing
By: Dr. Diane Hamilton

Read more: www.collegelifeplanning.com/articles

#1 Research accreditation of prospective online universities – Just because a college is online, does not mean it is an accredited university. Be sure that the school has received accreditation from one of the 6 regional accrediting organizations in the US.

#2 Research financing options available – There are still employers offering to pay for employee education. There are many old and new loan programs available for students. You might want to consider military options or grants as well. It might be wise to check out trends in financing through collegeboard.com.

#3 Talk to your school counselor – Your counselor is one of the best resources you will have during your online experience. They can offer advice about possible degree and career choices. They can help you set up your schedules and answer many of the questions you may have about online learning.

#4 Brush up on your writing skills – If you have not been in school for a while, it is important to be sure you have strong spelling and grammar skills as well as a good understanding of paragraph and essay structure.

#5 Research APA – Most online universities require that students submit papers in APA format. Although they will teach you the specifics of these requirements, it would not hurt you to know the basics of APA before beginning courses.

#6 Research How to Avoid Plagiarism – The Internet offers so many resources to online students that it can be easy for many to not understand the rules of when and how to cite sources. Plagiarism is considered a very serious offense. One way to avoid it is to be knowledgeable of what it entails.

#7 Research Netiquette – If you have not had a lot of online experience, you may need to brush up on your netiquette skills. Netiquette is the combination of the words Internet and Etiquette. There are certain things that are considered rude such as TYPING IN ALL CAPS. The school will give you some guidance in this area, but it is a good idea to research what is proper.

#8 Set Goals – It is very important to have written, specific, measurable goals. Research how to set up meaningful goals that have measurable timelines in them for what you want to achieve with your education.

#9 Discover your preferences for learning – We all have different types of preferences when it comes to how we learn material. Do you learn the best when the material is verbal or visual? You might be a social learner or a solitary learner. By discovering your type, you can focus on learning by utilizing the information in the style or format that best fits your needs.

#10 Discover any roadblocks to your success so you can cover come them – Write down all of the reasons why you either think you might not succeed or have not succeeded in the past with your education. Next write down all of the solutions to these problems so that you will know how to confront them should they arise.

Writting your College Admissions Essay

Before Writing Your College Admission Essay, Know Who You Are

Article courtesy of Accepted.com, admissions consultancy

Langston Hughes begins his poem “Theme for English B” this way:

The instructor said:
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you-
Then it will be true.

I wonder if it’s that simple?

When colleges ask you to “Tell us about yourself,” it may sound simple, but it is not. Sarah Myers McGinty, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, conducted a study in 1998 to determine the importance of the college application essay and students’ ability to complete it successfully. She found that while admissions officials viewed the essay as “somewhat important,” students found themselves unprepared to write it. In The Chronicle of Higher Education (1/25/02), McGinty says, “I knew that students felt comfortable talking about the most significant event in the life of Jay Gatsby. But many felt ill-at-ease when asked about the most significant event in their own lives.” A frequent reaction from students: “I’ve never done anything like this before!” Students are rarely asked to write personal narratives.

So how do you tell admissions officers about yourself in a true and convincing way? First, you need to “mine” various areas of your identity to discover what makes you an individual. We’re not talking strip-mining, where you just pull up whatever’s on the surface. We’re talking about digging to see what’s below the surface. That takes time and commitment, but in the end, you may strike gold.

Writing is discovery. You cannot write an essay without first discovering what you have to say. You are setting out to discover what has made you who you are. Keep a journal as you explore; these jottings and written wanderings are not your essay, but some will serve as the essay’s building materials. Some areas of your identity to explore include:

Events in an Admission Essay

The events of your life: big and small, successes and failures: shape you as individual. This is an overarching area of identity, the one that encompasses most of the others in our list above. “Tell me about an event” or “describe an experience” means “tell me a story,” which is what you will want to do in any personal essay. Storytelling needs to be lively and entertaining. Think about the kinds of details you provide when you tell your friends a story at the lunch table. You tell what the people in the story say; you dramatize events; you bring colors, sounds and smells to life; you transport your listener to the experience and show what it was like. You will need to conjure such details for your essay as well, so pick an event or two and start jotting.

Which experience to pick? Looking at a few colleges’ essay questions may knock some ideas loose in your head (emphases added):

The Common Application asks you to: “Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, or risk you have taken, or an ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.”

Penn’s application says, “First experiences can be defining. Cite a first experience that you have had and explain its impact on you.”

USC instructs: “Tell us a story about yourself that will help us to know you better. Illustrate one or more themes, events, or individuals that have helped shape you. Be clear and forceful.”

Stanford suggests that the applicant “Attach a small photograph of something important to you and explain its significance.”

Your experience does not have to be massively life-altering (not all of us have huge turning points in our lives), but can be one of the many little events in our lives that make us see ourselves and the world a bit differently. The time a classmate offered you a stolen test and you refused it. Seeing the ocean for the first time at age 15. Learning to drive or ski or swim. Notice, too, that all the essay questions ask you both to tell the story of an experience and also to reflect on the significance or impact of the event.

Photograph Exploration

Stanford’s photograph essay question is a great exercise that can force you to focus on small details. After examining the photo, write in your journal what you look like: what you are wearing, the details of your facial expression, hair, eyes, mouth, arms, legs. Describe who else is in the photo. What is the setting? What is happening around you? Note colors, sounds, and motions that are captured in that still moment. What is the mood and what emotions do you see in yours and others’ faces? What was happening in your life, your family’s life, the nation and the world at the time of the photo? You can use the same thought process to explore not only a photo but also other significant experiences in your life.

Passions in an Admission Essay

Your passion for certain causes or issues, as well as your hobbies or interests, show who you are. How do you spend free time? What excites you? Concerns you? Enrages you? What have you done to translate this passion into action? I know a student whose concern over the Middle East conflict led him to give bracelents to all of his classmates commemorating those who have died in the conflict. His essay on the topic worked because his passion led him to action, and his writing conveyed his passion. Another student explored how his childhood Lego hobby was a springboard to building robots in national competitions. I taught a young woman whose frustration over male-female relations in her school led her to start a Gender Issues discussion group. I know people who could write fascinating essays on their obsession with beads, their rock collection, or bike riding. Perhaps you think it’s less than admirable to say you spend every Saturday afternoon watching classic movies, but if you can intelligently reflect on why you love old movies and what it shows about you, it could be a worthwhile topic.

People in an Admission Essay

Begin by listing people in your life who have nurtured your identity. In addition to your family members, you may list instructors, coaches, teachers, or neighbors. After you make a list, decide which person or people you could write about most engagingly. Some applications ask you to write about a person; some just leave the door open for you by telling you to explore a topic of choice. The Common Application, for instance, suggests that you “Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe the influence.”

You might begin your exploration by reflecting on your family and how it has affected who you have become. Focus on the details of one or two members of your famil: their appearance, their habits, their activities, and their interactions with you. Think of a story that encapsulates a relationship. Consider exploring your family’s cultural heritage, traditions, or foods. Bring the people you depict to life; give them color, personality, a voice. Provide anecdotes about these family members or other important people in your life.

Places in an Admission Essay

Perhaps a place has gotten under your skin because you’ve spent so much time there. Perhaps you’ve worked on your grandfather’s farm in Wisconsin each summer since you were ten. Perhaps you attend a school unlike most schools in the nation, one in an unusual setting or with an unusual philosophy. Perhaps you spent a semester on sabbatical with your parents in Zimbabwe, and once you came back, everything looked different. Place can be a character, and you can tell a vivid story about how it helped shape you.

Religion in an Admission Essay

For some people, religion is integral to their lives and identities. Even so, you may consider religion a “touchy” subject. You may fear that the reader won’t like your religion. Don’t let that stop you if you have honest stories and reflections to relate. Consider writing a personal essay that reveals your thoughts about religion through a vivid story or series of anecdotes.

You care about your essay because it will help you get in to Wonderful U. Fair enough. But you can also gain a bonus along the way: self-realization as you cross the threshold from childhood to adulthood, a sense of who you are and what made you that way as you go out into the wider world. Happy digging!

For more ideas, visit the Accepted.com website, which offers lots of essay writing tips and sample student essays to help you pull your essay together.

By Alison Condie Jaenicke, Accepted.com Senior Editor

Potential Unleashed