Not-so-complicated college admissions advice

Rocket

So, what if you haven’t won prestigious awards, earned a
perfect score on the SAT, or invented plutonium during your high school
years?  Don’t worry.  Impressing colleges isn’t as hard as you might
think it is.  Here are five college admissions tips, none of which require
that you invent a radioactive chemical element.

1.  Raise your hand.

Colleges don’t just want students who plow through courses
and get good grades; they want students who are engaged in class, who like to learn,
and who make contributions by participating.  In fact, that’s why colleges
ask for letters of recommendation from your teachers–to learn if you’ve
demonstrated these qualities.  So put your hand up, ask questions and
contribute to class discussions. 

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August News for Friends and Family

Panel_3 "Don’t get your heart set on one school when you’re applying.  You might think there’s only one school for you, but wherever you end up, that’s probably where you should be."

"(Californian students) Stop worrying so much about the cold weather back east.  It’s just snow. People deal with it.  Geez!"

"When you tour colleges, ask the students on campus questions.  You might feel lame doing it but, trust me, it makes us feel important when you ask."

These were just a few of the nuggets of wisdom our former Collegewise–now happy college–students shared at our first student panel which we held last week.

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Unsolicited Life Advice for Teens

Lucy_doctor
We're not in the life-coaching business here at Collegewise.  But every now and then, we find ourselves passing along some life lessons to the teenagers whose college applications we're reviewing.  And like so many adults, we're life-qualified only because we've had the luxury of just being on the planet a little longer with more time to learn from those in-the-know.  So here are five totally unsolicited pieces of life advice for today's teens. 

1.  Learn how to shake hands well.

It's surprising how many people offer a handshake that resembles a lifeless salmon.  Those who do so might as well just go ahead and announce, "Hi. I have the personality of a lifeless salmon." 

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July News for Friends and Family

Brochure_photo_2
Never to be sold on Ebay

I always wonder if the celebrities actually visited the stores where I see their signed photos; I mean, did Jerry Seinfeld really bring his clothes to my dry cleaner in Irvine, CA? 

But you don’t have to wonder if the signature on the front of this Collegewise brochure is legit.  Kim Burnell is something of a legend at Collegewise.  As a high school student, she single-handedly referred about a dozen of her friends to us.  After high school, she worked for us during the summers as our Collegewise Intern Extraordinaire.  Now a junior at UCLA, Kim is training our new interns how to do the job Kim-style.  She still appears in a few places on our website, and she just landed on the cover of our brand new brochure. 

Download Newbrochure.pdf

So to anyone who wonders if this UCLA-clad student on our brochure actually came through the Collegewise program (or if she actually goes to UCLA), she did…and she does!

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5 Things Colleges Would Like You To Be

Be_nice Good grades.  High test scores.  A rocket arm that can throw a football to a receiver who’s running a fly pattern in a different zip code.  All of those things are appealing to colleges.  But there are some qualities colleges would like you to have that don’t necessarily involve superior intelligence) or the ability to pick up the blitz).  Here are a few of them.

1. Be nice to the kids other students aren’t nice to.
Once they get out of high school, most students realize that
those kids who made fun of the socially less fortunate were actually gigantic
losers themselves. So be nice. Say “hi” to the kid nobody else says “hi”
to. Don’t join in when everyone else starts
to make fun of the easy target. Your
teachers and counselors will notice, the kid you’re nice to will appreciate it,
and you’ll be in line for karma points later in life.

 

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Seniors: Get Ahead While Relaxing This Summer

Springbreak
Seniors deserve some downtime during the summer. Relax. Soak up some sun. Eat potato
chips. But if you follow these five tips this summer, you’ll be the envy of your fellow seniors later this fall when
they’re running to meet deadlines and the only running you’re doing is to
work off all those potato chips (we’re speaking from unfortunate personal potato
chip experience here).


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When in. . .San Luis Obispo

Slo_2
My weekend camping trip in Big Sur was interrupted by a voluntary evacuation due to wildfires.  So what was supposed to be a second night in Big Sur became a night in San Luis Obispo, and predictably, an impromptu visit to Cal Poly.

I don’t expect high school students and parents to have the same sick compulsion to visit colleges that we do (medication and therapy don’t help.  It’s completely and totally incurable).  But I’ve visited several hundred colleges, and not many of them are in a town as safe, quaint and college-friendly as San Luis Obsipo.  I think any student or parent, even one who (mistakenly) believes the colleges on the US News Top 10 list are the only ones worth attending, would agree.  So the next time you find yourself in a new town, whether you’re vacationing or visiting or voluntarily evacuating, pay a quick visit to a college in the area.  There’s a good chance you’ll start to see what we mean when we talk about just how many great colleges there are worth (voluntarily) attending.   

15 seconds of social entrepreneurial fame

College_summit
For the last four years, we’ve spent some portion of our summers volunteering at College Summit, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping under-resourced students get into college.  And nobody here has spent more time and energy helping College Summit kids than Jennifer.   So we were exchanging some group high-fives when College Summit was featured in a PBS special on social entrepreneurship and Jennifer’s interview was included.  You can find the article, watch the video, and even sign up to volunteer with College Summit here. 

And the college trivia contest winners are…

Trophy_3Not too many people get really, really excited about college trivia like we do.  But those who do certainly fared well in our college trivia contest in which we promised one month’s worth of free groceries to the person who fed us the tastiest morsel of college trivia.  And the winner is:

Grand Prize

Tim Templeton doesn’t even work in education; maybe he should.  He sure does know an awful lot about his alma mater, Cornell University.  And Tim edged out the competition in our contest with his submission, "The Brain of Edward Rulloff."  Rulloff was a 19th century criminal dubbed the "learned murder" who had a dual personality.  A self-taught doctor and lawyer who spoke 28 (no, that’s not a typo) languages, Rulloff was also a thief and a vicious murderer whose victims reportedly included several members of his own family.  Today, Rulloff’s unusually large brain, one of the largest ever recorded, is preserved in the psychology department of Cornell University.  Now, that’s some good trivia.

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We’re giving away a month of free groceries to the person who feeds us the best morsel of college trivia!

ListShare your tastiest tidbit of college trivia for a chance to win free groceries for a month!

What’s this contest all about?

It’s about reminding high school kids that great experiences happen at every college, including at some in Delaware.  It’s about celebrating what the US News college rankings don’t consider, like the math majors who created a remote control that changed the scoreboard at the Rose Bowl, the mascots who wear kilts and play bagpipes as they lead the football team onto the field, and the alumnus of the tiny liberal arts college who went on to create the Simpsons.   It’s about having a little fun, college(wise) style. 

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