Republished from The Huffington Post: http://huff.to/Yb74KD UC Berkeley was my dream school. In fact, as a student at a large public high school in the East Bay, as the son and grandson of alumni, and as a young person interested in politics, the University of California, Berkeley, was one of the few schools I knew. I applied in November of my senior year of high school. That spring, I received a thin letter in the mail from the admissions office. I went to the garage to open it, to receive the good news. Maybe the small letter would inform me that the fat packet of smiling faces of my future classmates was on its way or available online? Nope. I decided to appeal the decision. I knew the odds were slim: less than 1 percent of the student body at Berkeley were admitted off an appeal. Additionally, I was under the [...]
How to turn that NO into a YES (sort of): Rejecting College Rejections.
Jeff Brenzel recently posted on The Huffington Post his advice for students when they have been accepted to college. I thought that this was a great idea since even though it’s extremely important to discuss dealing with disappointment and roadblocks, it’s just as important to discuss what to do with those acceptance letters.
As Elizabeth mentioned, February is a month filled with opportunities for budding relationships (college acceptance letters) and heartbreak. (sigh…rejection letters). In some cases, these same letters may force some soon-to-be graduating high schools seniors to revisit a question they once confidently answered months before penning rough draft personal statements. What’s more, the answer to this question may not arrive after one discussion. The question is simple: “What’s the value of a college degree?” Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, Wall Street Journal columnist Sue Shellenbarger attempted to answer that question. Below you will find excerpts from her December 2009 article as well as some great BetterGrads-inspired commentary. Finding work you love. College degrees can guide students’ career choices in subtler ways. Jason Wotman, 24, loves his work as a co-founder of Tailwaiters, a Great Neck, N.Y., startup that runs tailgate parties for clients at sporting events and concerts. “It’s mine, it’s [...]
The Los Angeles Times ran an article, where fashion columnist Adam Tschorn interviewed Neil Patrick Harris from “How I Met your Mother” who discussed how much he loves his Paul Smith and Dolce & Gabbana suits, because they fit and flatter his tall and narrow frame like no other. The article reminded me of the time when I purchased a suit the summer before my first year of college. Though it was one size above my true suit size, the store manager said that I would grow into it. After four years, and some occasional ribbing by former co-workers who made a habit of noting that my suit was too big each time I wore it to work, I never, “grew into my suit.” At BetterGrads, we think the idea of a great fit extends beyond the fashion world. Around this time of year, when prospective students begin to receive [...]
On Thursday, the New York Times ran an article describing a growing trend among senior citizens: sleep overs! After spending the daytime acquainting themselves with the facilities, retirement communities are offering prospective senior residents the opportunity to take in evening social events and the opportunity to spend the night. For senior citizens, this is a great way to gauge social life and other nuances associated with retirement homes that one could not glean from a brochure. Retirement communities are not the only institutions to offer this opportunity. Colleges do too! I dedicate this post to one of the great (and relatively uncelebrated) pre-college traditions: prospective student overnight visits! Why you should do it: College overnight visits offer prospective students (or more cutely known as, prospies) an unfiltered, in-your-face opportunity to experience collegiate social life in a way that guidebooks or facebook photos could never showcase. For example, such visits give [...]
With Hanukkah winding down and Christmas right around the corner, newspapers across the country this week have highlighted some cool websites and mobile phone applications that can make comparison shopping a lot easier. One product that caught my eye, was the mobile application, ShopSavvy, created by Big in Japan, a development company based out of Dallas, TX. Mentioned in the Wall Street Journal , and in the New York Times, the app allows people to take pictures of barcodes, upload them to ShopSavvy, and have ShopSavvy compare the price of that item across various retailers. Now, if Bettergrads had any input regarding how this app would function, I think our team would want the app to be able compare the cost of attending various colleges. Imagine being able to hold up an iPhone to any text document where the name of a college appears, and with the simple click of [...]
Somewhere within the never-ending piece of literature you might currently know as the Common Application (or any college application for that matter), you are asked to highlight some of your skills. Yes, it’s easy to write that you are proficient in Microsoft® Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® (the later will become the bane of your existence as you enter the collegiate world and eventually the working world). But there are two skills I wanted to highlight today, that will help you grow and succeed during your high school years and beyond. 1). Follow-Up or Fail This skill comes to you courtesy of author Keith Ferrazzi from his book Never Eat Alone (NEA). While Ferrazzi spends much of the book explaining the finer points of networking, he spends a significant portion discussing the importance of follow-up. So, what’s the big idea behind follow-up? Following-up shows you care and are thankful for that [...]
So you’ve toured the campuses, taken the SATs, and filled out a mountain of paperwork. And yet…the dreaded personal statement/statement of purpose/epic essay remains. Whatever its name, the college admissions essay is crucial for an application to just about any school. Many times you can use (or at least tweak) the same one for several applications that have fairly basic prompts, while other schools might pose a more specific question. Whatever the case, a few basic rules of thumb may help smooth the writing process… 1) Be yourself It’s a cliché for a reason. Now is not the time to insert random polysyllabic words you just looked up or adopt the voice of your favorite author. The admissions essay is your chance to break away from the standardized test scores and tedious forms—be yourself, but take the opportunity to be your best self. Just strike a balance between striving for [...]
When struggling with a subject in high school, you might have looked for a local tutor to help clear up the confusion. And it was safe to say that the tutor was either a local college student, or recent college graduate. So, what happens in college when you are struggling with your coursework? Who tutors the college kids? Who offers to the opportunity to proofread your 20-page research paper a few days before you need to turn it in? Who offers the opportunity to take un-timed exams if you have a documented learning disorder? All of these things happen when you take advantage of your college’s Center for Academic Excellence / Writing Center. These places are usually located somewhere within the caverns of your school’s library (which should become one of your top-5 places you could be found, during any given day, while in college), and should be put to [...]