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What Colleges Look For In High School Students

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Advice On Selecting High School Courses

What High School Classes look GOOD to top colleges?

Do I have to take a fourth year of social studies or can I start a second foreign language instead, which is what I really want to do?

Id like to write for our community newspaper next year, but that means I wont have time for an AP Chemistry class. Will that hurt my chances of getting in?

Many high school sophomores and juniors want to know what courses to take to improve their chances for admission to Yale and other highly competitive colleges. With the caveat that every situation is different, here is some advice to help guide you as you make these decisions.

What Are Some Tips For Students To Cutting Costs And Saving Money

Research Scholarships

To lower the cost of college, apply for scholarships. Start looking into scholarships while still in high school and apply early. New scholarships are constantly being offered, so it is important to check your sources often when searching for scholarships.

Cook on Your Own

To save on personal expenses, students might consider supplementing a meal plan with home-cooked meals, if they have the right facilities in their housing.

Rent Textbooks

Renting used textbooks from sources such as Chegg, Amazon, and eCampus.com might be cheaper than purchasing them new. Gutenbuerg.org has thousands of books that can be downloaded for free. If you do buy textbooks, you may be able to resell them at the end of the semester and recover some cash.

Research Transportation Options

Look for flights in advance, and book early for a cheap fare if you are planning a trip home during the break. If you have a flexible schedule, opt to fly mid-week rather than on the weekend, as fares tend to be cheaper. To save on gas, consider carpooling or traveling by bus or train. If the campus is a reasonable distance from home, consider biking, walking or using public transportation.

Minimize Overall Costs

Location And Distance From Home

Your college experience hardly stops at the edge of campus.

What type of college location is best for you? In a big city, youll have access to exciting activities, from concerts, theater, and art exhibits to shopping and nightlife. However, if you prefer starry nights to city lights, you might be happier at a more rural school. Looking for the best of both worlds? Consider a suburban school with easy access to the city.

Maybe you want to go far away, or maybe you want to stay close to home. Whatever your preferences, make sure theyre part of your college search!

Questions to ask

  • Do I want to attend college in a rural, suburban, or urban area?
  • Do I want to be far away and on my own or close enough to travel home on the weekends?
  • What is the weather typically like during the academic year?
  • What kinds of recreational opportunities and amenities are in the area?
  • What is the transportation system for students who dont have a car on campus?
  • What is the crime rate typically like in the area?
  • What are the areas employment opportunities like for students looking for internships and part-time jobs as well as recent grads looking for full-time positions?
  • How big is the schools campus in terms of acreage ?
  • Can I live off campus? Or if I want to stay on campus, is housing available all four years?
  • What is the town-gown relationship like between the college and surrounding community?
  • What is the average cost of living and general quality of life?

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Extracurricular Activities: Demonstrate A Deep Commitment

Getting involved with clubs, societies, and teams freshman year gives your child a chance to dive deep into an area of interest. Joining early can help them achieve and assume leadership roles within those organizations as an older student. However, sophomore or junior year is not too late to become more involved in your childs high school, town, or state community.

Consideration #: Which Subjects Does Your High School Recommend

Selective schools long and tangled history with race and ...

Your school may already have a list of community college classes that previous students have taken and enjoyed, and they may also have a list of community college classes that they give credit for or accept as a substitute for a particular high school class.

If your high school has recommendations, this can make choosing which courses to take easier, because you will already have some idea of what classes other students have found useful. This information is also helpful if you are looking to get high school credit for your community college class.

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A Good Personality And/or Excellent Character

The college admissions essay, also called a personal statement, is your chance to show admissions officers your personality.

The essay can reveal more about your passions, character, ideas, views on life, etc.

A well-written essay that gives admissions officers a positive impression of you can be the deciding factor in admission to the school.

A poorly written essay or one that reflects poorly on you can do just the opposite.

Monell Science Apprenticeship Program

This unique opportunity offered by the Monell Center is actually an internship. Available to both high school students and undergrads, the program pairs participants up with full-time researchers to offer the extraordinary opportunity to take part in hands-on research training, learn to communicate in a professional scientific environment, and of course to increase appreciation of the chemical senses all while earning a weekly salary. Past interns have taken part in research on cloning olfactory receptors, investigating flavor preferences of infants, and studying air quality, to name a few.

Where: Monell Center, Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaHow Long: Seven weeksSpecific Subjects: VariesHow Much: This internship provides an hourly wage, however interns are responsible for their own room and boardMore Information

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Crme De La Crme: Making Yourself Unique

With all the requirements of the application ready and organized, here are three last pointers that may help you stand out.

Show who you are.;From the extracurricular activities you choose to the recommendations people write about you and your essays, each component of your application helps paint a picture to admissions reviewers of who you are and how you are unique.

Stand out with format.;College admissions counselors usually consider the total package when reviewing applications. For example, if you are a robotics enthusiast or master coder, what could you build that shows off these skills? Dont go overboard, but do consider how you can package your application to showcase your unique skills and experience.

Showcase skills with supplemental materials.;If allowed, submit supplemental materials to support your application and further show who you are and the skills that you will bring to the school. For example, you might take a multimedia approach and submit links to websites you have designed, things you have built, videos you have created, or music you perform.

Demonstrated Enthusiasm In Attending The University

WHAT DO COLLEGES LOOK FOR IN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT?

Whether through the college application essay or by directly connecting with admission representatives, students should proactively demonstrate their enthusiasm in attending the colleges theyre interested in attending. This can be demonstrated with every campus visit and interview, and through ongoing contact with the admissions office.

During your college planning process, schedule a campus visit as early as possible. This should include an informational session, tour of the campus, and an interview with an admissions representative, if available. Also try to stay in contact with the college admissions office and attend any local presentations or informal orientations.

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Summer Science Program Experience

This prestigious pre-college summer science program , Caltech, and New Mexico Institute of Technology) provides students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a central research project in either astrophysics or biochemistry. In the astrophysics program, teams observe various astronomical patterns to determine the orbit of a near-earth asteroid, while in the biochemistry program, teams design a small molecule that can inhibit an enzyme from a fungal crop pathogen.

Where: Colorado, New Mexico, or IndianaHow Long: Six weeksSpecific Subjects: Astrophysics, BiochemistryHow Much: $6,950 . Thanks to generous donations, last year every participant was able to attend the program for free.More Information

Summer Scholars Program At Notre Dame

Those looking to experience life at a prestigious university like Notre Dame can look no further than the Summer Scholars program. Scholars choose from a lengthy list of interesting programs of study, then enjoy two intense weeks of coursework though plenty of free time is also included so as to experience what life is really like on a college campus. Some examples of programs from which participants can choose include Archaeology: Exploring the Foundations of Notre Dame, Astronomy: Investigating Our Universe, Life Sciences, and so much more.

Where: University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IndianaHow Long: Two weeksSpecific Subjects: Archaeology, Astronomy, Global Health, Life Sciences, PsychologyHow Much: $3,500 . Some programs also require a lab fee of $150.More information

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Animal Science: Captive Raptor Management At Cornell University

We dont know of any other pre-college summer program quite like this one. Over the course of three exciting weeks, students in Cornell Universitys Captive Raptor Management course will learn everything from the identification and natural history of various birds of prey to basic raptor care, and the best strategies for restoring threatened bird species, among other things. Best of all: plenty of opportunities to work with live raptors.

Where: Cornell University, Ithaca, New YorkHow Long: Three weeks

What Colleges Look For: Test Scores

4 College Credit Options for High School Students

While GPA and class rank are great starting points for colleges, these factors often can be difficult to compare because of varying; difficulty of classes and different grading standards at individual schools. Thats where the ACT and SAT come in. Colleges typically use standardized tests to provide an objective measure of all students to help them make admissions decisions.;

Even though the number of colleges with test-optional policies is increasing, these tests are still used by schools not only for college admissions but also for awarding merit-based scholarships. Thats why its important for every student to prepare hard for these tests to increase their; scores. Students who submit a solid score have an advantage over those who do not.

It starts by determining which test is better for you. Take each once to see how you do and how each test feels. Some regions of the country focus on one test over the other, but all colleges accept both tests. While the English and reading sections on both have similar content, the SAT does not have a science section. However, math makes up; 50% of an SAT score compared to only 25% of an ACT score. Do your research, take practice tests, and focus your efforts on increasing your score on one of the tests.;

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Dazzle The Dean With Your Talents And Passions

Your profile will be more impressive to colleges if you show that youre truly committed to your passion projects.

Admissions committees are curious to see how your personal interests fuel your drive and work ethic. So if youre deeply invested in a video game league, a church event, or a comic book zine, dont be afraid to own it in your application.

TIP: Youll stand out even more if you go that extra mile and add a portfolio or a video that exhibits your abilities to your application.

How To Enroll In Community College Classes

After you have decided which class you want to take, you need to begin the enrollment process. Before you enroll, talk to your academic adviser at your high school to learn if this class will be included on your transcript or if you will be able to use it to substitute for another course. You may need to provide them with a course description or syllabus to review. You should also ask them if your high school will cover the costs of the class, and, if so, how and when they will do so.

Next you need to enroll in the community college. This process varies by school. Some only require you to fill out basic information about yourself, especially if you will only be taking a few classes. Others require the same enrollment process a full-time student attending the school goes through, which may mean filling out an application and submitting test scores. This process can take up to a few weeks, so give yourself enough time to complete it before classes start.

Once you are enrolled, you can sign up for the class you want to take. Remember that, as mentioned above, oftentimes high school students have to wait until after current college students have had a chance to select their courses before they are able to sign up for classes.

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Research In Science & Engineering At Boston University

Some of the brightest minds in science teach at Boston University, making the universitys Research in Science & Engineering program a top choice for ambitious students looking for just the right summer science program. Over the course of six weeks, students can take part in either an internship or a practicum . With either choice, students can be sure they are participating in one of the best summer science programs available for high school students.

Where: Boston University, Boston, MassachusettsHow Long: Six WeeksSpecific Subjects: Research science, EngineeringHow Much:;Between $7,515 and $7,745 depending on chosen meal option More Information

Tips For Sophomore Parents

Soft Skills Employers Desire from Beginners, High School and College Students *New*
  • Educate yourself on the landscape of admissions and financial aid. Talk with your students high school counselor about healthy ways to support your student through this process. Dont get sucked into the “prestige game” when it comes to thinking about colleges. Show your student that you are doing early steps, too. For example: Its never too early to use Expected Family Contribution calculator;and online tools to understand the costs of college.
  • Consider visiting campuses. College visits for sophomores are a great way to expose them to types;of schools This is a low-stress time to let your student experience an admission talk and tour. Remember that its not about building a list of colleges just remove this from your mind. It is about having them hear about cool residential college systems; unique academic calendars; campus traditions; internships that connect them to a larger world. There is no such thing as a wasted visit. Hearing what your student doesnt like is just as helpful. Take notes when you see them smile and when something sparks their interest. Debrief a bit in the car to journal first impressions. Here is a great little tool to take on college visits.
  • Model good behavior. Do you talk about certain colleges and potentially discount others? Your student is listening to you. They will pick up on your “values” based upon your words and actions. Focus on personal fit over name.
  • To all of the grade 10 students and parents out there, #YouCanDoThis!

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    What Are Good Extracurricular Activities For College Applicants

    • /
    • What Are Good Extracurricular Activities for College Applicants?

    Before you immediately search for the secret formula to boost your college applications, the most important element to consider when choosing extracurriculars is YOU. Your personality, goals, dreams, and interests will lead you in the right direction when it comes to your perfect extracurricular activities. College and university admissions officers want to see that you have all the necessary qualities to succeed at their institution, but mostly they want to see who you are and what you can bring to their campus. Beyond the desire to get into college at any cost, the activities you choose to pursue in school should be a reflection of your greatest strengths and offer a looking glass into the kind of contribution youll bring. ;

    Colleges look for applicants who are involved, passionate, and proactive in the learning process inside and outside of the classroom. Deciding not to partake in extracurricular activities in favor of spending summers and after-school time hanging out with friends or watching television will obviously not impress colleges and universities. So, here are some choices for extracurricular activities that help students demonstrate the kinds of skills and qualities admissions officers like to see on college applications.

    Show Colleges A Real Interest In Their Offering

    In your application, express your interest in a specific degree program, the colleges core values, or the extracurricular activities the school offers. Colleges look for students who want to be there, so make it clear why youre drawn to the particular school where youre applying.

    If youre an aspiring literature student, you could talk about how the colleges literature program is considered among the best in the country or how a particular professor impressed you with their published work. If a college debate teams great track record piqued your interest then discuss your intentions of joining.

    You can also prove your interest by scheduling a campus visit early on, actively reaching out to the admissions officers, and applying for early action or early decision enrollment.

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    High School And College Admission Requirements

    When colleges calculate your GPA for admissions purposes, they will often ignore the GPA on your transcript and focus solely on your grades in these core subject areas. Grades for physical education, music ensembles, and other non-core courses are not as useful for predicting your level of college readiness as these core courses. This doesn’t mean that electives aren’t important, as colleges do want to see that you have a breadth of interests and experiences, but they simply don’t provide a good window into an applicant’s ability to handle rigorous college courses.

    Core course requirements vary from state to state, and many of the more selective colleges will want to see a strong high school academic record;that goes well beyond the core. Advanced Placement, IB, and Honors courses are a must to be competitive at the most selective colleges. In most cases, the strongest applicants to highly selective colleges will have four years of math , four years of science, and four years of a foreign language.

    If your high school doesn’t offer advanced language courses or calculus, the admissions folks will typically learn this from your counselor’s report, and this won’t be held against you. The admissions folks want to see that you have taken the most challenging courses available to you. High schools vary significantly in the types of challenging courses they can provide.;

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