I’ve been working in an elementary school all semester. It’s been a really great experience and I’m sad that yesterday was my last day.
There was a bit of a running joke in that my “students,” at least the older ones, would constantly tell me I was in middle or high school because many of the fourth and fifth graders were my height or taller.
But yesterday I sat with the younger children and they started asking me about where I went to school (because I explained to them it was my last day because I was going home to NY).
And, I kid you not; one of my Kindergarteners asked me about college. He said he needed to start getting ready, so he asked me what he had to do to go to college.
I laughed and told him he had at least 10 years before he had to worry about that. Then one of the second graders told me he only had 8 years to go, and he needed to prepare because his parents told him it was important.
Not to reveal too much, but I worked in a fairly low SES school, where most of the children were from households where their parents did not go to college.
So it was actually pretty cool to see that, from a very young age, these children all knew, at least in a vague sense, that a college education was important.
There’s a lot of talk about how a college education isn’t worth much these days. But here’s the thing, its decreasing value actually makes it more important.
College is the minimum for most industries. College is the new High School. College is less valuable but much more necessary. Even for jobs that “don’t require a degree” a degree is the minimum.
I don’t know when I started thinking about college.
I think it was around middle school when tracking started. I knew I had to do well in 7th grade because that would allow me to go into honors classes in 8th grade, which would help me take harder classes in High School (I don’t think I was fully aware of what AP was), which would help me go to college.
Sometimes I get asked when students need to start preparing for college.
My general answer is around the end of sophomore year, which is when I think you should start prepping for the SAT/ACT. And I think college search should start about midway through junior year (once you have an idea of what your scores are going to be, giving a big clue at the type of school you’re looking at).
But, in general, college prep does start earlier.
It starts in Kindergarten when you need to learn your fundamentals. It starts in 5th grade where you need to read bigger, harder books every night to help you get to a high level of reading comprehension.
It starts in middle school where you grades start to matter.
It’s always. College is always important. Not just in that you need to do well and challenge yourself, but in that you need to understand why education is important.
You need to know that what you’re doing has value and a purpose.
So even though my Kindergarteners had 10 years before they needed to start worrying about college, they were already preparing.
And, honestly, that’s awesome.
There’s a lot of talk about “upward trends” in admissions.
As in, you increase the rigor of your classes and your grades steadily improve over the course of high school.
A truly excellent upward trend will have a dramatic increase in grades, ending with the student being as strong as the top peers.
Another, often ignored element of upward trends is an increase in rigor. Of course, if you always took the hardest classes that’s great too. But if you started off in regular level classes and gradually began taking more and more APs and Honors, ending with a full schedule of them senior year, that’s great. That’s a really solid upward trend.
An upward trend is impressive. It shows growth and tells a story (without having to write another freaking essay).
Now here’s the thing… an upward trend is great. It can really help forgive some poor grades early on.
But if you’re an upward trender do not write your CommonApp essay about what motivated you to do better.
You’re better off leaving it to their imaginations. They want to know that you’re motivated, and they can see that you are from your improvement. You don’t need to tell them that in your 500 words. Use those 500 words to tell them something else. Something that’s not academic.
Don’t write an essay about what happened. They know that part of your story from your transcript alone.
If you must explain low grades early on (for example, you had a family emergency that caused your grades to plummet freshman year) do it in an additional info essay. But if it was simply, “I didn’t think it was important and then I realized it was!” you’re much better off leaving it to their imaginations.
Here’s another thing… Upward trends are great. But… they’re still probably not as strong as consistently amazing grades. Hard truths, I tell them.
But you can’t change the past. So if you’re someone who’s potentially an upward trender… keep it up. Keep working. Keep improving. Keep adding rigor. Because an upward trend can really help in admissions.
Okay guys… It’s that time of year… Time to start prepping for the summer.
While deciding on your summer plans you might hear (or even think) that a program that you’re not even all that interested in will “Look great on a resume!”
Stop it. Just stop.
Stop padding your resume, because it doesn’t work.
You know how when there are veryimpressive people with veryimpressive resumes it’s all anyone can talk about?
You know, “OMG She did this incredible science research” or “He’s going to get in anywhere he wants, he started that super successful charity project.”
You never hear anyone go “OMG he did a 2 week trip that he hated but it’s on his resume and it’ll get him in anywhere”
Because if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it won’t impress anyone.
Resume padders are easy to see through.
The day where I answer last week’s questions because I took off for Thanksgiving.
If you put it on your app they’ll see he went there. I’m not sure if it’s legacy status, you could always email the school and see what they say (ohh, interest!).
Ladies and Gents, this is why we print preview.
I don’t think you’re screwed. I’d email the school and see if you can re-submit it. Otherwise, they’ll know that computers do weird shizz. It’s not going to auto-deny you, don’t worry.
know that all colleges have the same stuff, and you’ll find what you are looking for at every school. Remember that you take opportunity for yourself, and the degree your school comes from matters a lot less than what you learn and the experience you have.
If the first one is worse across the board, might as well just send the two better ones.
Finish all of your other applications, keep busy. Take some deep breaths. Waiting was the absolute worst part of the process for me, I wish I had a better answer.
How severe was the typo?
A minor typo won’t really matter all that much, you’re human. Hopefully they won’t even notice.
I went to a relative’s for thanksgiving, and then I was home on Saturday and Sunday. And then my flight got cancelled so I had a “bonus” night at home.
Hey if that’s your honest answer, write it! You do you!
Their mascot is a spider. That’s literally all I know about it unfortunately.
Watch is an understatement. I sleep breathe eat and live Once Upon a Time. The CGI is pretty bad most of the time, but I’ve yet to watch Wonderland (I’m waiting until winter break to binge-watch it).
And that’s all she wrote. Gotta go catch a plane.
Happy thanksgiving Appblr. I hope you all had a great time a took a day off from stressing about college. I know I did.
Although you might be safe at the haven of the kids table, you WILL be subjected to a bunch of scary, loaded, super personal admissions-based questions this Thanksgiving. Be ready.
Remember, as impolite as it seems, if you don’t want to answer a question you don’t have to. Worst comes to worst, just say that you are superstitious about talking about admissions
(Though let’s be honest, you’re reading my blog, you’re probably a little obsessed).
1. Where are you applying?
Get ready to hear this question about a billion times over. If you don’t want to tell them, just say you “don’t want to jinx yourself” or that you’re “not quite sure yet”
If you do want to tell, either give the full list OR give a few highlights.
If your relatives are out of tune with the realities of the admissions process I do not recommend mentioning any reaches/high reaches. Lest you get “Well what about Harvard?” questions after a painful rejection.
2. Have you gotten in anywhere yet?
Maybe you have! If you’ve gotten into a rolling university, tell them! Mention how excited you are to “know that you’re for sure” going to college.
If you haven’t just mention that most colleges don’t release their decisions until March.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a sorority house with only 3 people in it. But it’s very quiet and very strange.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Food, clean clothes, your real bed, they’re all waiting for you…
Along with a flood of questions from your relatives. You’re in college, you’re practically a real person in their eyes.
So here are 5 of the questions you’ll need to know the answer to come this Thanksgiving.
1. What’s your major?
If you know the answer to this one that’s great! Mention what you’re studying, and maybe mention a few classes you’ve taken or are going to take.
If not… it’s a little daunting. If you tell them you don’t know, you’re going to get a tirade of questions. If you answer, you’re going to get even more. Just mention a few things you’re interested in, and say that you’re waiting to see what classes you like best before committing. It’s also good to drop the 2/3 of college students change their major at least once statistic if you get condescending responses to being undecided.
2. What are you going to do with that?
Again, depending to your answer in question 1 you might have slightly different answers. If you tell them you’re pre-med, engineering, business, or computer science this question will be excited and perhaps a bit intimidated.
If you’re majoring in literally anything else, this may have a bit of condescension. If you have a career goal in mind, mention it and talk about how your major relates. If you’re not sure, mention that you’re going to “look for internships” this summer to “check out different fields.”
Again, it’s a good time to drop the 2/3 of people do a job completely unrelated to their major statistic.
That’s actually a common misconception, that the early pool is weaker than the regular pool. It’s going to be just as competitive, unfortunately. The good thing is that there are still more “spots” open in the early pool, and applying early demonstrates you’re interested in the school AND that you’re responsible/on top of your application stuff.
Send the October with the 33 composite OR send them all. Especially the sitting you got a 35 on the math. The thing is, schools only report a composite for a reason, it’s because they only really consider your composite scores. If you’re applying for engineering take a SAT Subject test in math (Math II says my “source”) to prove your skill.
It can’t hurt, especially if you’re applying for MD programs. If you have room for it, it can’t hurt.
Make a connection. Ask them what they liked about the school. If they’re older ask them about what they think has changed since they attended. Be interested, be polite, be mature, be genuine.
No. If you have additional info that’s important (a new award, a new leadership position, etc.) you can send that. Unfortunately your essays are set in stone.
I literally don’t know anyone who goes there. But I did walk around it last year and it’s very pretty. Also cupcakes.
No don’t worry about it. I quit a club I was consistently ranked top in state in after 3 years. Schools get it.
I hate to say it, but yes. Unless it’s a giant lecture class, at least at my school, you’ll have to present or facilitate discussion at least once a semester, sometimes more if it’s a smaller class. If you don’t like oral presentations, a bigger school may be the best option for you. Also, it’s a good thing to ask about in interviews. Don’t say “I’m afraid of public speaking” but, rather, “How often do you have presentations in class?”
Also, public speaking is hard, but you’ll need it in life and it gets easier the more you practice.