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 [...]
If you’re a high school junior, chances are your inbox and mailbox have been filled with letters from the marketing departments of colleges across the country. I also received those one page letters. And if you do not feel like waiting until the summer before your senior year to figure out whether you should apply to these schools, even better. And so it was during the spring of my junior year in high school that My Dad and I decided to take a road trip and visit some schools in the area who had been so kind to send us boiler-plate introduction letters. This time, “in the area” referred to schools beyond the city limits of Los Angeles, namely UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Sonoma Sate, and UC Santa Barbara. Below you will find some observations and tips from our trip should you choose to visit some schools during your spring [...]
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 [...]
BetterGrads will be offering four College 101 panels in January 2010 at San Francisco Bay Area High Schools, including Richmond High School and Oakland Technical High School.
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 [...]
College reputations are never a reality – or never a complete reality, at least. Prospective college students would be very well advised to spend less time “drink[ing] in the tour guide’s every word” – on claims of Hogwarts or otherwise – and more time asking tough questions, doing extensive research and introspection, and, most importantly, engaging as many current college students and young professionals for their insights and actual experiences as they can.
As an exclusive for our blog readers, we’d like to share some of the early findings from the post-presentation surveys from our 7 presentations to over 600 students and parents at Granada High School in Livermore, CA. Four-hundred and ninety-four freshmen responded (of the 570 or so we addressed through the Freshmen In Transition (F.I.T.) program). The remainder of the survey responses came from students who attended our two panel discussions at College Night, which involved 11th graders and their parents.
With many exciting recent developments to share, including the first (inter)national BetterGrads team meeting, a presentation to the Rotary Club of Pleasanton North, upcoming presentations at Oakland Tech, initial feedback from GHS, it’s time for another update on BetterGrads!
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 [...]