Archive for the ‘Admissions Advice’ Category
Typical admission requirements for universities include minimum GPA and curriculum requirements, standardized test scores and an admission essay. Most universities evaluate thousands of potential students to ensure that admitted students meet all admission requirements listed. Here are a few strategies that you can use to put your application ahead of the pack.
Take Responsibility. Every student has control over their GPA. If you’re struggling in a particular subject, there are hundreds of available resources to assist and provide guidance, including online tutoring, in-person tutoring, supplemental materials, and approaching the teacher about any difficulties. You need to own your academic achievements. Taking responsibility for your own progress displays that you are willing to take the initiative and have the maturity to admit when you need help.
Create a Game Plan. The biggest hurdle many students face in academics is asking for assistance when needed, and once you reach college the struggle only gets worse. No one is going to personally tell you what you need to do in order to achieve your own goals – if you take accountability early, you will have well-developed habits to identify your goals and the game plan you need to follow to accomplish those goals. Keep in mind that universities don’t include GPA and standardized test scores in admission requirements to see the numbers; they are trying to see your performance level and determine if you will be a good fit for a self-driven environment.
Actively Seek New Opportunities. Universities are intended to tailor a student’s abilities to aid with specialization later. Why wait until an admission letter comes in the mail to decide on a career path? There are dozens of volunteer opportunities and student activities available to you! Taking advantage of these programs can help you quickly narrow down what activities you enjoy and where you excel. You will also have a robust assortment of extracurricular activities far above and beyond admission requirements.
Tell Your Story. The admission essay is often the most nerve-wracking part of admission requirement. The essay is your chance to really shine in the admission application – this is your opportunity to tell the board what you hope to accomplish (in college and beyond) and what you’ve learned from your experiences so far (from those opportunities you took advantage of after you read the last paragraph!). Know how to tell your story and you will wow the admissions board. Need help practicing? Many admission essay sample prompts are available online. Make sure to ask teachers, parents, and guidance counselors to critique your essays so you can improve your skills.
High school freshmen and sophomores: work on forming these habits now and you will be a stellar college candidate by the time you’re ready to apply!
Applying to college is difficult. There are thousands of choices, and it may be hard to figure out what school is a good fit for you. Going on college visits is a great way to see the campus, meet with professors, students, and admissions officials, and get a sense of what might make the school a good place for you to continue your education. But there are some important questions you should ask on your college visit so that you fully understand the culture of the school and get the most information possible.
Make sure you talk to a variety of students to get a sense of their experience at the college. It may be easy to talk to a freshman you know from your hometown, but make sure to meet upperclassmen who may be able to reflect better on their longer experience at the school. At many colleges, upperclassmen volunteer to lead campus tours so these students are front and center. You have their full attention and they’re always more than happy to answer your questions. Ask away!
- Are there many seminars, workshops, or special guest speakers for upperclassmen? These events are usually more in-depth explanations or applications of topics in a certain field.
- Do they have professors they count on as mentors who may be able to write them recommendations for grad school or jobs?
- Are they bored of the social life on campus after three or four years or is there always something to do?
- What options are available for on-campus as well as off-campus housing?
Older students may be able to give you better answers about campus life throughout your time in college.
Also get a sense of the academic and extracurricular offerings at the school, which will be important to your collegiate experience.
- What majors are available, and which are the most popular?
- How large are classes typically, and are there more lectures or small seminar type courses?
- Are students involved in clubs, sports teams, or other groups, and how important are those groups to their overall experience?
- How easy is it to get involved with a club sports team or the newspaper?
If you know what you will be majoring in, make sure to visit the department as well as the college. Your department will be just as (if not more) important than your college. Call the department office and ask about scheduling a visit, which usually takes place right after a usual campus tour. You will have the opportunity to speak with professors in the department, the department chair, as well as current students. You can go back through the questions above to get a sense of what life is like for students in your program.
Asking all of these questions and talking to as many people on campus as possible during your college visit will give you a greater understanding of life at the school. While brochures, websites, tours, and info sessions may get you started with the college’s basics, college visits are important because they give you an opportunity to examine the school’s culture, its community, and its academic, social, and extracurricular offerings, all of which will be significant to your college experience. Take advantage of your time on campus and ask as many questions as you can. When it comes time to decide, you’ll be glad you did!
Image Source: http://www.emmanuel.edu
According to the Vegetarian Resource Group and the Vegetarian Times, 7.3 million Americans are vegetarians. If you are one of those people, you might be concerned about your dining options at college. Don’t worry! There are plenty of amazing vegetarian-friendly colleges out there that you might want to consider during your college search. According to PETA, here are 10 vegetarian-friendly American colleges and universities, including some reviews from your fellow Cappex users!
10) University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA
Louis from Weeki Wachee, FL says, “Excellent food and dining services, the food is great, there is a wide variety and great amount of options.”
Mengzhou from Stoneham, MA says, “There’s a decent amount of options, especially the vegetarian options at King’s Court.”
9) Northwestern University – Evanston, IL
Melissa from Florida says, “The dining halls are nice and provide a lot of healthy options. It has also been ranked to be the most friendly to vegetarians and vegans.”
Jack from Littleton, CO says, “Northwestern is one of the top universities in the country for vegetarian eating. The cooking staff prepares global cuisine, and the deserts are excellent!”
8) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, IL
Amanda from Lisle, IL says, “The dorm food is amazing! The meal plans allow you to pick up food from university convenience stores as well as eat in all of the dining halls. The dining halls had tons of options, lots of healthy variety, and plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and kosher meals.”
Kayla from Peoria, IL says, “There is always something to eat on campus that you will enjoy. There are at least ten different dining halls on campus that each have their own menu, as well as many specialty restaurants for those that are vegetarian or vegan.”
7) University of Puget Sound – Tacoma, WA
Bridget from Albuquerque, NM says, “The food is great, and there are many options even for those on special diets. There is an entire section dedicated to vegan/vegetarian, and there are plenty of gluten-free options.”
Carrie from Beaverton, OR says, “The choices are pretty broad, and it’s very high-quality, especially for college food–and largely vegetarian/vegan. We have pasta, burritos, Asian food, a table just for vegetarian/vegan options, a hamburger/fried fare grill, sandwiches, soups, and an awesome pizzeria.”
6) SUNY at Purchase College – Purchase, NY
Andrea from Carmel, NY says, “Purchase is known for being one of the most vegetarian/vegan friendly campuses in the country. There is a wide variety of healthy foods to choose from as well as good old junk food …. Terra Ve is the campus’s all vegetarian dining hall.”
Dani from Mastic Beach, NY says, “There are many different options, including vegan, which is great.”
5) University of South Florida – Tampa, FL
Monica from Miami, FL says, “There are amazing buffets on campus that I definitely recommend to all students of all eating types. I am a vegetarian and I was amazed at all of the options available for me.”
Krystal from Cape Coral, FL says, “They make an effort to be health conscious and do their best to let you know what is in the food. Each dining site has vegetarian and vegan options … They have made steps to be more green, implementing a reusable to-go box system that has reduced a lot of on-campus waste.”
4) University of California-Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz, CA
Monica from Vista, CA says, “There are lots of vegetarian and vegan options. A portion of the produce in the dining hall is grown organically at the UCSC farm right here on campus!”
Daneshia from Oakland, CA says, “The best organic/vegan food I’ve ever had. Very diverse and healthy food choices.”
3) American University – Washington, DC
Kerri from Gettysburg, PA says, “You can definitely eat more healthily in the cafeteria at American than many other schools, and they provide gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.”
Jack from Santa Rosa Beach, FO says, “The main cafeteria is an all-you-can eat wonderland with ice-creams, cereals, and pizza and burger bar, and (my favorite) so many vegetarian and vegan options!”
2) Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH
Stacy from Columbus, OH says, “Oberlin’s general views on sustainability and healthy living are clearly reflected in the food and dining. The dining services at Oberlin have a wide variety of mostly locally and organically grown foods. There are also generous options for vegetarians and vegans. There is always fresh fruit and a very complete salad bar at every meal.”
Anthony from Spokane, WA says, “Very good vegetarian options for people like me.”
1) Wesleyan University – Middletown, CT
Brendan from Middletown, CT says: “All dining areas on campus offer vegetarian- and vegan-friendly meal options, as well as any other food allergy or preference that students might have.”
Thomas from Houston, TX says: “The food is awesome! There are a lot of cafes you can stop by if you just want a quick snack, but if you have time to sit down and eat there is the main dining hall which is a buffet. There is a wide range of food and there is also a lot of healthy food.”
Do you attend any of the colleges and universities above? We welcome your comments below!
Attention high school seniors: It’s that time!
You’ve spent the last three years giving up your free time so you could fill in the blanks on your resume with volunteer work, extra curricular activities, and a part time job. You’ve invested countless hours studying so you could make the grades. Now it’s time for all of that hard work to pay off. It’s time to begin your college search! Check out these common mistakes high school students make on their quest to find the perfect college fit!
The biggest mistake you can make in the college search is not searching at all. Perhaps your father, grandfather, and great grandfather all went to the same college, and you just assumed that’s where you should go, too. Maybe your freshmen year, you and your group of friends all decided to go to the same college. Or maybe you picked your own college, but it was in middle school. Do not just go with the flow because you might not like where you’re headed. You need to choose your own direction, or at very least, verify that the direction you’re going is indeed your best option!
Not Spending Enough Time Searching
Deciding where you’ll spend the next four years is not a decision you should make lightly. This is where you’ll be trained in the knowledge that prepares you for your career. This will be where you will eat, sleep, and breath. This is where you’ll make new friends, join clubs, and independently become the person you want to be. Take your time deciding what it is your looking for, and familiarizing yourself with what’s out there. You want to be sure that you’re giving yourself the best opportunities, and that you’re going to choose somewhere you like.
Not Visiting the Campus
One of the biggest and most common mistakes students make is when it comes to choosing where to apply, they often judge a college by the web site, posters, and photographs in college catalogs instead of actually going to see the campus. This is like choosing your friends just by looking at their yearbook pictures! Just like you spend extra time picking out an outfit, a background, a smile, and a hairdo, colleges try extra hard to look good for their pictures, too! You won’t know what a college looks like on a typical day, or what kind of culture is has, until you actually take the time to go there.
Not Using Cappex to Find Your Best College Fit
Unlike our parents’ generation, where colleges were found through college fairs and guidance counselors, we have the internet to make our lives easier! Cappex is a site where you can search for colleges, and colleges can find you as well! By filling out a profile and answering a few questions about what you’re looking for, you can be linked to colleges all over the country that best match your interests and preferences! You can even find out your chances of being accepted!
For even more info about making your search as thorough as possible, check out this edition of Cappex White Board Friday in which Bobby highlights the Top 3 College Search Mistakes students make.
Note: If you missed part one of this series, see Finding Your Perfect College Match: Location.
Universities have a lot to offer, and there are many aspects of the college experience that have to come together in order for you to find your perfect college match. As a high school senior researching potential colleges, finding a match in three main areas will help you make sure you get everything you’re looking for.
Majors and Courses
Not every university offers classes on every subject, so it is important to take a look at the different schools within each university you are considering and make sure they have your intended course of study. For example, while majors like English or Psychology are generally found at every university, more specialized majors like Engineering or Journalism may not be offered everywhere. As important as a university’s prestige, student body size, and social scene are to finding your ideal college, without your major it won’t be your perfect match because, after all, you’re there to learn!
Depending on your personal interests, some universities will be better matches for you than others. For example, if you are a student and an avid sports fan, a university without a large sports program may not be your perfect match. To some people, there is nothing better than waking up early on Football Saturday and heading to the stadium with friends. Others may not be as interested, and instead be more drawn to universities with thriving arts programs. Finding a match in the culture of the university is as important as finding a degree program that suits your academic interests. Even if the major is a perfect match, if you feel uncomfortable with your university culture and the other students around you, you will not feel fulfilled at the end of your time in college if you didn’t feel that you were happy socially.
Universities are hubs for extensive research, which many students take advantage of while enrolled in classes. Professors run research studies throughout the year on many different topics—ranging from medical to psychological to electronics and everything in between—and look for passionate students to join the team. If the research is successful, you may even have a chance to be published in the study as a research assistant. Getting involved in research is a great way to start building your resume early on and gain hands-on experience in your intended field, and for those students who are interested, is an essential part of finding the perfect match.
When searching for the perfect college, there’s no better way to get a feel of a school than going to visit and taking a tour. Usually led by an enthusiastic student guide, college tour visits are an essential part of the college application process.
Visit at the Right Time
If you are interested in schools located somewhere with distinctive weather, it’s a good idea to visit during the season in question. Visiting a school up north during the warm summer months won’t allow you to discern whether or not you can handle the tougher winter months, and visiting a school down south during the winter when the weather is mild doesn’t let you experience what it’s like to encounter the hot and humid summer weather. Taking your tour at the appropriate time will ensure that you get a realistic experience on your potential campus, and understand what it will be like to actually live there.
Weather isn’t the only issue when it comes to a timely visit. Try to visit a college campus when classes are in session, and it’s “business as usual,” so to speak. Often the truest indicator of what a typical day is like at a particular school is to visit during one.
Listen to Your Guide
Tour guides take the job because they love the school and want to help prospective students see that they will love it, too. They will have interesting stories and facts intertwined with the informative part of the tour, and these stories are what will set each tour apart. You may be tempted to stay at the back of the group and look around, but walking toward the front will ensure that you hear everything the tour guide says.
Where Should You Go?
You may be applying to a number of schools and wondering how many you actually need to tour. Some schools require prospective students to make a visit in order for their application to be considered, so if any of these schools are on your list, they are places you need to visit. If you have one school that you know is definitely at the top of your list, it is recommended that you visit that school.
In your list of prospective schools, you will have back up options, target options, and reach options. It may not be necessary to visit your reach schools until after you get an admissions decision because you are unsure whether or not you will realistically be accepted. Likewise with back up options, you may not need to tour because you’ve received good news from your target school(s). The best idea is to start with your target schools, where you have the highest chance of ending up, and go from there.
Totally lost in your college search process? Visit a college fair. College fairs bring many schools to you at one time. While it might sound overwhelming, these fairs do a great job of making schools come to life. Reading statistics in a hefty college book will only get you so far. Take the time to find a college fair and talk to representatives from different schools. Here is a checklist for you to make the most of this great opportunity!
- Find the college fair. Well, obviously, but if your school doesn’t offer one, there are national fairs that happen on specific weekends in specific cities around the country. Find the one nearest to you!
- Register for the fair. Some of these national fairs require that students register. Not all, but some.
- Print a list of the colleges featured at your fair. Highlight the ones that peak your interest.
- Bring a pen!
- And a notebook.
- And a backpack or bag to hold brochures.
- Make sure you have a working email address. Some colleges will have a newsletter sign-up sheet for you to get more information about the school and its programs.
- Write down questions to ask representatives. Seriously. Do this! If you don’t know what to ask, take a look at Questions to Interview Your Potential College.
- Do not be afraid to attend an informational meeting or question session if it is offered! Even if you don’t know what to ask, hearing other important questions being answered will be beneficial.
- Take notes.
- Take more notes!
- Allow yourself time to visit booths that you didn’t highlight initially. They might surprise you!
When you get home after the fair, look at all the notes you took and brochures you collected. If there are schools that stood out, dig deeper into their websites to see if they are truly a good fit for you. Find colleges on Cappex and browse their profiles to learn more about them. In addition, find out what schools are similar to the ones you’ve collected. All of the colleges and universities available to you cannot possibly be represented in one college fair, so use the fair as a springboard for your search.
The college search process does not have to be frustrating and tedious. It may feel that way at times, but know that there is seldom just one school that suits your needs. There are tons of schools out there that will give you a great education and can make you a happy student!
In your quest to find your perfect college match, you’ve considered your major, the distance it is from home, the number of people from your high school going there, the food, its appearance, the cleanliness of the bathrooms, whether or not you’ll have to take a gym class, and a hundred other pieces of criteria! It’s a big decision, so there’s a lot to think about! Have you considered what college will do the best job at preparing you for your career? Check out these ways you can verify that the college you’re choosing has what it takes to actually get you a job!
The Reputation of the Program
Once you’re sure a college has your major, you’ll want to find out more about the program and its alumni. How popular is this major on campus? What percentage of its graduates are able to find a job in that major? What do the students currently enrolled in the program think? How long has the major existed on campus? Who’s teaching the classes? The more you can find out about your future program online and through the college, the better. If your program has been around for a while, is gaining popularity, and has accomplished individuals teaching new information, that’s a good sign!
The Relevancy of the Program
The job market is different than it was twenty, or even just ten years ago, and with technology constantly changing, you’ll want a program that’s adjusting their coursework so they’re ahead of the game! As an education major, you don’t want to learn the art of overhead transparencies. You want to learn how to use multi-media in the classroom, and how to look for signs of bullying. As a creative writer, you don’t want a heavy emphasis on the classics. You want to learn how to produce and market work in today’s writer’s market! Make sure the school you choose has a program that knows how to adequately prepare students for today. A quick look at the required courses and syllabi are often enough to get a few clues!
The Opportunities Given to You
When looking at a perspective program, look for what the college has to offer that other colleges don’t. What opportunities does this program give you that will better prepare you for a job than other programs? Will you get the chance to create a documentary your sophomore year as a film major? Will you be asked to observe how a classroom is taught your freshman year as an education major? Is there a literary magazine writing majors can help produce? Is there a famous professor with brilliant insights in charge of your program? If you can’t see why getting your program at one college would be better than getting it at another college, then you probably need to keep looking.
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