Posts Tagged SAT

The Waiting Game

lysa-85You’ve completed all of your applications; sent them all in months ago, read and re-read all of your essays and completed your SAT and/or ACT testing. You’ve gotten teachers to write numerous letters of recommendation for you, and you’ve tried your hardest to avoid the “senior slump” of spring semester and keep your grades afloat. You’ve already survived FAFSA, and are pretty sure where you want to go to college after visiting all of your choices. The only thing left now is THE WAITING GAME, of anxiety, anticipation, fear, and excitement. You’ve completed all of the above items to receive one single letter, of  hopefully above all… an ACCEPTANCE!

I know how you feel. I could hardly wait to receive my application responses back. I checked the mail almost every day after school in hope maybe one letter would arrive earlier; before the decision date. I checked my email 10 times a day and for months made sure everything had been received by each school due to paranoia. But, you know what, you’ve already worked so hard, and you’re already ahead of so many others by just having applied to college! You are going to be the first or one of the first people in your family to go to college! Now, if you only knew which one, right?

Now is a good time  to relax and consider how you are going to celebrate your first acceptance letter. I remember when I received mine. I’ll probably never forget that day. The first school I was accepted into was Wesleyan, followed by Emory a day later. The letters came early and I couldn’t believe it, when I got home and they were waiting for me on my bed. I opened them and was overjoyed that I had been accepted. I knew at that moment, I was definitely going to college – one of the best feelings in the world! I went out to dinner that night at my favorite restaurant and celebrated being accepted into college. However, you will have to decide for yourself how you’re going to celebrate. But, when you get that first letter, you’ll know that YOU’VE MADE IT , that ALL OF THAT HARD WORK HAS PAID OFF, and YOU ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO YOUR FUTURE!  Best of luck to all of you. My best advice is to celebrate your acceptances and not dwell in that unfortunate letter of rejection that may also reach your mailbox, because I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Don’t be discouraged, and realize that your letter of ACCEPTANCE is on its way!

Climb High, Climb Far…TAKE RISKS!

lysa-85Hey guys! Frequently here at Williams I walk past Hopkins gate. Engraved on this passageway are these encouraging words:

“Climb High, Climb Far, Your Goal the Sky; Your Aim the Star”

These simple yet meanigful words, evoke just how important it is to strive beyond the best you can be. Therefore, I urge you all to consider applying to those schools, you figure are completely out of you’re reach. What’s the worst that could happen?

During my college application process my senior year, an admissions counselor once told me, you could have all “As,” perfect SATS, and be involved in  many extracurriculars at your school, but that is not what makes you stand apart from all the rest! I further learned that every year dozens of the “virtually same type of students” apply to the nation’s top universities with these very same qualities. And you know what? In all honesty, most of them are turned away!

Believe it or not, having good grades, good test scores, and trying to be involved in everything in high school may not even get you into an IVY or top school! 

I know when I was in high school I figured grades meant everything and that no college cared about my perspectives or anything else. However, when you apply to college the truth is quite the contrary. Colleges do want to know your struggles and how you’ve over come such obstacles. It’s not about how many times you may of fallen, but rather how you’ve picked yourself back up and made something positive out of a negative situaiton.

So don’t stress about your grades so much, or being voted the leader of every club or sport. Don’t hesitate to do something out of your comfort zone; something non-academic! Be unique; be bold, because that’s what will truly set you apart when you’re application reaches the admission office!

Remember when you write your application essays, that colleges respect an individual who can face the ups and downs in their lives, and realize that you are human! Try to personalize your essays so that they not only cover the topic you must write about, but also encompass something unique about yourself, your thoughts, or who you are as individual. DON’T BE JUST A NUMBER IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS, TRULY STAND OUT!

I myself, wrote my college essay on the corruption of the foster care and adoption systems in America. I tied my essay into my own experiences in foster care as a child, and how being adopted has impacted my life. I figured I was taking a chance with this topic, because not everyone is going to agree with you, but you must write about whatever lies close to your heart, because that’s what’s going make an impact, and truly stick in the minds of admissions officers when they are making their decisions of acceptance.

So don’t hold back, when writing you’re essays.  TAKE CHANCES! THE MOST UNIQUE STORIES AND THUS ESSAYS MAKE THE BEST ONES! If you need any advice on your college essays or just want someone to look it over for you, just email me, or post a comment. I would love to help you guys!Thats what we bloggers are here for, YOU!

gobble gobble!

tereza-85It’s already 2 weeks until Thanksgiving and I know most of you high students are looking forward to it because that means a 4 day weekend! I remember thinking that last year and couldn’t wait for it to come.

What I also remember about this time was that I was getting ready to start my college application process and I hope all of you high school seniors are too. If you have not started yet, don’t worry it’s not too late to start.

There are so many colleges out there and some students are probably wondering “Which one do I want to go to? How can I pick?” What I suggest doing is making a list of everything you look for in a college and go off of that. Some sample questions would be:”Do you want to stay close to home? Do you want to be in a city or in a college town? Do you want to go to a big school or a small school? Does diversity in your college matter to you?” and more questions similar to that. By answering a bunch of questions like that can really help narrow down your search and make it easier to pick which colleges you are interested in. I myself answered questions like that to help me narrow down my search because before I did that I was feeling kind of overwhelmed by how many colleges there where and this helped me eliminate some. For questions which you could go either way on like “how big do you want your school?” just apply to both because then you can never have too many options.

I would also suggest to at least apply to 5 schools. Every school will offer you a different financial aid package and different things and like I said before, keep your options open!

Try making a time line for yourself especially when applying to schools that have application deadlines. You do not want to miss an important deadline. Some schools may have rolling admission so there really is not a deadline but it is always better to apply sooner because then it’s more likely you will get a spot!

If you have not already figured out which teacher you would like to write you letter of recommendation it would be good if you made that decision soon so then you can ask that teacher. Also so then they could get started on it if necessary because just how you don’t like doing papers at the last minute, they don’t like doing letters of recommendation at the last minute.

You should probably begin creating a personal statement if you have not already started and I highly suggest you have someone else read it and help you with it! They can help you improve it and make suggestions that you might have not thought of before.

After you have all these things done all you really have left to do is wait to hear back!

To all you freshmen, sophomores and juniors, you can do all of these things too because it is never too early to start college preparation. Of course you cannot apply to college yet but you can have everything ready so that when you are able to apply for college all you have to do is fill out the application because everything else is already done. Also make sure that you take the ACT/SAT and make sure you are prepared for them which means study!

I wish everyone the best of luck and if you need help or have any questions don’t be afraid to ask your parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, or even me! Just leave me a comment after you read my blog.

Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbuster’s…? If it’ll Help You Succeed, Go For It!

khadijah-85I got my first midterm back. I’m excited, I’m hoping for the best. Then I look at it- a horrible grade.  A horrible horrible grade.  This means I’m a failure. Here I am, so many people think I’m smart, so many people believed in me. By getting this bad grade, I’ve let everyone who believes in me down.

There are two ways this can go: I can hide in an abyss of the library and study my butt off, and feel bad about myself, or  I can ask for help, seek out resources, and improve. I can still mess up, that’s a fact of life. But it’s what I do after something goes wrong that determines what happens in the situation.

This may seem like common sense to you- of course, when you’re in trouble, you ask for help, we know this. I see you rolling your eyes. But this translates to more than just college, this isn’t just about when you get to college. There are so many steps to be taken before you get there. There are so many steps that you, your parents, anyone you may know may have not been exposed to yet. You are all intelligent and have tons of potential, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to ask for help. Nor does that mean that if you can’t figure something out that you or others perceive to be easy, that you can’t ask for help. In order to achieve what you want, in order to get what you all are  deserving of- an education- to help yourself and your families, you have to realize that you should NOT go it alone. Asking for help does not mean you are incapable or that you are unable to figure something out. To the contrary- asking for help is a sign of inner strength, for it shows that you know yourself and will go after what you want, and you are willing to learn and grow from experience.

So next time you have a question about an application question, or the steps to signing up to the SAT, or anything relating to what will help you succeed in the future, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your family, your friends, your school, and Center for Student Opportunity (CSO), including us scholars, are here for you. We’ve been through it too.


Missing the Big Picture…

seanna-85Personally…the college process was daunting to say the least.  My dad never finished high school…my mom never made it to college.  Throughout school, my main focus had been getting high grades…extracurricular activities…establishing good relationships with teachers and peers…all the “normal” stuff.  When it was time to start applying to college, I had no clue where to start.  I’d done all the ground work, with no idea how to make the rest happen.

“Seanna…I don’t know what you’re worried about…any college would be lucky to have you…”

“You must be really excited…where are you applying…?”

“All that hard work is about to pay off…your mom must be so proud…!”

For months, the constant repetition of things that were supposed to be encouraging and motivating, only made me feel more confused and overwhelmed.   And while my mom was very proud, she was unable to help in many ways due to her lack of personal experience.  Oftentimes, neither of us knew the next appropriate step.

I didn’t realize that college fees could be waived, and that many schools only required either the ACT or SAT.  The prospect of applying for financial aid kept me up at night…I was in the proverbial tunnel with no light at the end.  And although there were plenty of counselors and mentors available to help, I felt that I should already know the answers…that I should not have to ask…

So here’s the big picture that I was missing…and here’s my advice to all those setting out with college applications…

You DO NOT have to know everything…asking questions is more than just okay…it really does help.  The people that offer assistance know what they’re talking about―the right steps to take, and even better…they WANT you to succeed!

Obviously, I did figure out the application process, managed to conquer my fear of financial aid, and even made a final decision!  So here I am, halfway through my first semester, and I realize now that allowing others to help from the start, rather than waiting until I was engulfed in essays and scores could have made the process much easier.

In fact, I’ve learned that reaching out is not a sign of weakness, but instead…a sign of strength.