Archive for the ‘College Decisions’ Category
If you’re like many high schoolers, at one point you had a vision: you and your best friend, boxes in hand and your parents a few yards behind you, stepping onto your college campus for the first time. You probably sat around a camp fire one summer, or on your bed listening to your favorite song one afternoon, and talked about the wild adventures the two, or three, or four of you would have all together in an eclectic college apartment as young adults facing the world on your own.
But more often than not, when the time comes to formally enroll, things change. You may have taken a shot at a dream school across the country, and in return, was awarded a great scholarship. You might decide you want to pursue a pre-med degree, a major that isn’t offered at the arts school you had all planned to attend.
Finding yourself in this position is extremely tough for high school students. On the one hand, you don’t want to disappoint your friends, or have them mad at you, especially now that you might not see them much in the next four years. On the other hand, this is your future, and you don’t want to compromise it for the sake of making someone else happy.
Here’s a few ways you can open up a dialogue with your best friend, or group of friends, about wanting to attend a school other than the one you had initially planned.
An Emphasis on Your Future
One of the most important aspects of this conversation will be about what you want for your future. By explaining everything you will personally gain from going to your college as opposed to the one you had planned with your friends, they are more likely to see your reasons for taking this opportunity. The best of friends will want what’s best for you, no matter what.
An Emphasis on Your Friendship
The other most important aspect of this conversation will be about how you plan to handle your friendships. Obviously, your friends don’t want to lose you. They won’t be happy to discover you won’t be embarking on the same journey as them. Have a couple of ideas prepared ahead of time, so when they ask you questions such as, “When will I see you?” or when they make statements such as, “We’ll never get to talk to you,” you have a response that will make them more accepting of the situation.
When Your Reasons Are Tricky
Sometimes your reasons for wanting to attend a different school than your friends are far more difficult to explain than something like “one has my major and the other doesn’t.” You might want to go to another school because you want this chance to be on your own. Maybe this decision was made because you want to break away from your friends. When this is the case, you may be better off by explaining that this is simply something you have to do, and that you hope they respect your decision. Again, trust that your true lifelong friends will understand.
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!
There is a plethora of study abroad programs from which college students can choose these days. If you are hung up on location, location, location and need some direction, think about these cities and your interests as you plot your semester abroad!
[Note: This is the second part of a two-part feature. Yesterday, we highlighted 6 amazing cities for study abroad.]
It is no secret that China is a huge rising economic world power. Aside from being a vast, beautiful country that is completely different culturally from the US, China offers business students an awesome opportunity to get a glimpse into the world of global economics and make some helpful contacts for the future.
Like Beijing, Tokyo is sure to be a city unlike any other in the US. So, if you’re after a brand new view of the world, one of these locations is a terrific option. Japan is a great place for students studying English or planning to teach. Sound crazy? It’s not! There are tons of opportunities for English-speaking students to teach English while studying abroad. Temple University has a notable study abroad program in Japan that offers tons of different courses.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
This is a great option for students who are focusing on Spanish or Latin American studies and literature. Not only do you get to utilize your language skills, but Buenos Aires is much less congested with tourists than Spain. This city is also known for its pulsing night life.
Prague, Czech Republic
For the music or arts student looking for a getaway rich with history, Prague is your place! There are tons of museums and concerts combined with gorgeous architecture that has survived over the years. Prague is also a major economic hub of Eastern Europe for all of the finance majors out there.
For students studying environmental sciences, Copenhagen may be of interest: it is noted as one of the most environmentally friendly cities. If you are interested in marketing, this may also be the place for you because many Danish media and broadcasting corporations are located in and operate from Copenhagen.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Montreal is a wonderful place for students who aren’t keen on traveling across an ocean or want to practice their French language skills somewhere other than touristy old Paris. Its a great international hub for business and culture. Montreal is your city if you’re looking for a European feel closer to home.
Use these cities as jumping off points for your study abroad journey. If you just don’t know how to choose where to study abroad, talk to your academic advisor or other students who have tried it! They will certainly have more advice.
Cappex has lots of resources for college students. Make your profile today!
Knowing you want to study abroad while you are in college is great! Not knowing where to study is frustrating. Think about your major or specific interests when deciding where to travel. Then, take a look at this list and see what destination might suit you best!
The UK is a great place for students who do not have strong foreign language skills or prefer to study in an English speaking country. The land of Shakespeare is of course a wonderful place for theatre majors to hone their craft. Students of literature or creative writing might find London to be a good fit, since side trips to the rolling hills of Ireland could certainly offer inspiration.
The entire country of Italy is like an art history major’s dream come true – stunning artwork, architecture, and history available around every corner make Florence a hot spot for college students studying abroad. Rome and Milan are also popular locations. Engineering students may find the ancient Roman design intriguing, too! Basically, this country has a little something for everyone.
A city as beautiful as Barcelona is sure to attract students of the arts. Specifically, anyone focusing on architecture may be interested in spending time in the Park Guell where some of the most famous architectural creations from Antoni Gaudi sit.
Though Paris can be quite touristy, it is certainly one of the finest destinations for students looking to expand their knowledge of art history or fashion design. In addition, college students studying at a culinary school or with strong interests in the culinary arts should consider Paris, as it is considered to have some of the finest cuisine in the world.
Another great location for students who don’t want to speak a foreign language during their studies abroad. Since Australia is home to some of the most unique species on the planet and near the Great Barrier Reef, anyone studying biology or marine biology should take advantage of the perks this continent offers.
All European countries are rich with history, but what makes Germany stand out is the feeling that the history is more recent and relevant to our world today. Berlin is a terrific city choice for history or political science majors looking to dig into 20th century world history first hand.
When struggling with how to choose where to study abroad, remember that you really can’t go wrong. Traveling is an excellent way to open doors and learn something fresh about yourself and your studies!
Cappex has tons of resources for college students.
You may be thinking about Trade school for your higher education after high school and wondering, “Is this the right choice for me?” Trade schools, also known as Vocational schools, offer students the unique opportunity to obtain a more specialized education without the supplemental classes necessary to fulfill normal college requirements. In Trade school you will learn to master your craft without all the Math, History, and Science classes you may not be interested in taking.
While some people believe that Trade school does not offer students the well-rounded education found in the standard college curriculum, if you are passionate about your craft, it is a great way to receive a comprehensive, focused education that will help prepare you for a highly-skilled profession.
Here are a few of the great aspects of Trade schools that make them a desirable option for post-secondary education:
- Trade school degrees can generally be completed in 1-2 years as opposed to the 4-5 years of study needed for most college degrees. If you don’t particularly enjoy studying and taking classes, the shorter timeframe of Trade school may suit you better than a traditional college.
- Because of this shorter period of study, your classes will be highly competitive. Educators expect a lot from their students as they try to cram a complete education into 2-4 semesters, so you will always be busy and working hard. Many students find that the increased competition serves as a strong motivation to stand out. You may see that you also excel better under pressure, allowing you to get ahead in your program and distinguish yourself among your classmates.
- Whereas colleges put an emphasis on academic education, Trade schools place a greater stress on practical education. In Trade school, you will learn the specialized skills needed for your trade and only take classes applicable to this course of study. You will receive instruction and training specific to your desired occupation, be it as a medical assistant, chef, auto technician, flight attendant, fashion buyer, or any other vocation you choose to study. There are hundreds of degrees to choose from, and you’re sure to find a program that matches your interests!
- As you go further working in your trade, you may decide that you want to take more classes and gain more skills. Trade schools are accommodating to students of all ages, often offering night or weekend classes that will fit better with your schedule. You can choose to take a single class at a time and further your education while still being able to work.
- Trade schools offer help finding a job after graduation, which is a great resource when entering the job market for the first time.
Making the decision to study music in college can be very exciting for students who choose to pursue their passion. Much like applying to academic programs, choosing a music program requires a lot of time and research, and a great time to start seriously narrowing down your search is at the end of your junior year. You may be wondering the best way to begin; Cappex is here to help.
Attend a Performing Arts College Fair
Twice a year, in cities all over the country, schools across America come together to put on a performing arts fair—a forum for prospective students to meet representatives from different universities and conservatories and learn about the performing arts programs they offer. These college fairs are a great way to learn more about the options you have as a potential music student and help you narrow down the programs that you’d like to apply to.
Choose Between a University Or Conservatory
As a music student, you can choose from two different types of programs: a conservatory or a university with a strong performing arts program. Each of these options have great qualities, and deciding which appeals to you will help you begin your search for the right music program. A conservatory is a smaller school that focuses exclusively on the performing arts and requires students to take core classes such as writing and music theory in addition to their principle field of study. Conservatories are highly competitive, as they attract students who are very serious about their craft and their future with it. University performing arts programs, on the other hand, will give a student the opportunity to enjoy aspects of college life—like sporting events and the Greek system—while also gaining an education in music. These programs are also known to be highly selective and competitive, and students in these programs may need to take other classes such as math and science in addition to their principle field of study to fulfill university requirements.
The Application Process
Music school applications often ask for additional information that is not required on standard university applications. In addition to essays, personal statements, and transcripts, you will need to submit a performance resume, recommendations from music teachers (either private teachers or high school teachers), and a supplemental application with questions asking about your interest in music and what you’d like to achieve. Once you’ve submitted your application, if the Admissions Office is interested in you as a prospective student, you will be asked to come audition for a selection committee. Though auditions may still seem far away, your junior year is a great time to begin thinking of, and rehearsing, potential songs or pieces you may want to perform. This will give you time to get comfortable with the music and help shake the nerves on audition day. Good luck!
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As you begin (or continue to endure) the college search process, you’ll notice tons of statistics for each school you consider. One of these statistics is a graduation rate. A college’s graduation rate is the percentage of students who complete their degrees in the standard amount of time. According to a recent article about the rise and fall of graduation rates in The Chronicle of Higher Education, prospective students should not accept the graduation rate of a specific school at face value. In other words, your college journey is complex, so don’t give this rate too much weight when making your college decision.
There are certain factors that complicate the reliability of a school’s overall graduation rate. It’s important to understand that graduation rate statistics use 150% as “the standard amount of time” it takes a student to graduate. This translates to 6 years for a bachelor’s degree. It’s also becoming increasingly difficult for schools to collect data because so many students (about one third of the college population) transfer at least once and many switch majors at some point. Both of these factors produce statistics that might skew your view of a university’s ability to teach you what you need to know on time.
So, what can you do to make sense of that graduation rate number? According to The Chronicle article, figure out what your goals are as you enter college and look at graduation rates for your specific major. Ask yourself:
Is it really important to me that I graduate in a specific amount of time?
Is it possible to achieve my degree in only four years?
How long does it take for students in my major to complete their program?
Can I afford more than four years of schooling?
Am I set in stone attending this school or could I see myself transferring closer to/farther from home after freshman year?
Remember, the article mentions the unmeasurable factor of student intention. If you enter school with determination, drive, and devotion to learning, you will have no trouble graduating when you want to. However, set backs happen and should not completely discourage you! What is important for your career post-graduation is a degree. The knowledge and experiences you gain in college will benefit you for the rest of your life. If it takes a little longer than you expected to get there, that is okay.
If you are worried about paying for more school if you don’t graduate when you’d hoped, remember that you can find loads of scholarship opportunities on Cappex! Make your profile today to get started.
Congratulations—you just finished your junior year! After what is arguably the most important year of high school, filled with preparing for and taking standardized tests, harder exams in your classes, and new-found leadership roles, your college search can really begin. You worked hard this year, and it’s time for summer break—but not before one final meeting with your guidance counselor. Applying to college is a detailed process, and this meeting will help you get everything set up before you part ways for the summer.
Get Help Picking Schools
Once your junior year is complete and you have your grades and SAT/ACT scores, it’s time to start applying to college. Meeting with your guidance counselor will give you a chance to discuss which schools you have a good chance of getting accepted into (“strong schools”), which schools may be a reach (“reach schools”), and which schools you should apply to as a back-up where you will definitely be accepted (“safety schools”). Together, you can compile a list of schools that may be right for you; your counselor may even be able to suggest schools that meet your criteria that you didn’t know about or hadn’t been considering.
Make A Timeline
Summer break is a great time to get ahead on your college applications. Some schools begin accepting applications as early as July, leaving you lots of time to get them started before your senior year starts in the fall. When you meet with your guidance counselor and figure out which schools are right for you, look on their websites and find out when the essay topics are released, when the applications open, and the time windows of when applications will be accepted. Creating a timeline of all these dates will help you stay organized and on top of your game.
If you are looking for scholarships to help pay for school, this is also a great time to discuss different options about where to find scholarships and how to apply for them. Your guidance counselor will have information on the different merit-based, need-based, and athletic scholarships that you may qualify for, and can be a great resource in helping you get the financial aid that you need. Cappex is also a great tool to help you apply for scholarships.
Letter of Recommendation
A letter of recommendation can be a great addition to your college application. They are required by some schools and not by others, but they can help you stand out in the applicant pool and make you seem more personable to the Admissions Office. You may want to ask your guidance counselor to write one of these letters for you, as they have been helping you throughout your high school years and they know you both personally and academically.
Need help finding your perfect college match? Cappex can help!
Throughout your college application process, utilizing your family can be a great way to ensure that you apply to, and pick, the perfect school. Family members know you very well, may have insightful thoughts on which schools you should consider, and can be great company on college campus tours. Although you may be ready to conquer the world on your own, listening to your family and working together will help the process run very smoothly. They’ve been in your shoes, and they know what to expect!
To Stay In State, or Not To Stay In State
You have a big decision to make here. When you start your selection process, consider the following: Do you want to be within driving distance from your family? Do you want to go far away? Is distance from home important to you? Or does it not matter how far it is, if it’s the right school? While some students find comfort in having family close by, others may see going to college as an opportunity to venture out fully on their own. Understanding what proximity you want to your family can help narrow down the list of which schools are the best options for you.
For students who live in states with good public universities, applying only to these colleges may seem like a smart option to parents who are helping pay tuition. Though it narrows down the range of your decision, talking through this idea with your family can ensure that you understand their point of view and the reasons they think it is a viable option for you both financially and academically. Parents may like the idea that you can get a great education at a lower cost, and this is something to consider when making your college decision.
Lets Hear It For The Alma Mater!
Did your parents meet in college? Is your sister always raving about how much she loves her school? Were you raised as a diehard college football fan? These schools are a great option for you, too!
College pride can run deep within families, and you may be encouraged to apply to the alma maters of your parents and siblings. These schools may seem desirable to you because of the great stories you’ve heard about them over the years. If they fit the criteria of what you want out of your college experience (research the different majors, student life, and campus culture when making this decision), it’s a great way to start a new family tradition. Many schools like the idea of creating a legacy within families, and having family members who are alumni will be noted on your application. Sharing college spirit with your family can keep you connected after you’ve moved away from home and give you something you can enjoy together. You’ll love walking around campus with your mom as she tells you all about her college experience thirty years ago, and she’ll love watching you have as great of a time as she did.
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