3 Things I noticed on my college visit to the University of Washington

3 Things I noticed on my college visit to the University of Washington

A large part of the college search, such as research programs, professors, and even learning about clubs and campus activities, can take place online nowadays. While that can be a great thing, there are still some things that you just cannot find out about online. For those readers who are already heavily considering attending certain universities, especially those in their junior or senior year, I would highly recommend for you to visit colleges! Visiting schools can be a crucial factor when it comes to deciding which school you actually want to attend, as you can get a better feel for the kinds of people, activities, and values the school possesses by physically being there.

Read More

How to deal with parents when applying to college

How to deal with parents when applying to college

I am terrified. I am the type of person who likes to present myself as capable and confident -- like I can do anything. I like to think of myself as pretty independent, and I rarely like to ask for help. Although most of the time I want to seem strong, the college application process has a way of making someone feel vulnerable, as if they are a small fish in a huge pond. However, in the end, we’re all small fish, going through the same daunting process together. Deep. I know. As I, myself, am currently going through the college process, there is one thing I wish I would have done earlier. I wish I would have talked to my parents and been brave enough to tell them my dreams, fears, and aspirations.

Read More

The 5 Best Colleges for the Public Health Major

The 5 Best Colleges for the Public Health Major

The Public Health major entitles to learning about the prevention of disease and to promote health on different scales. This could include a small scale such as a community, or a global scale such as different countries around the world. There are many schools that offer this major, but here are the 5 best colleges for the Public Health Major. #PublicHealth #CollegeMajors

Read More

Top 10 Colleges for Communications Majors

Top 10 Colleges for Communications Majors

A Communication major is broad enough for you to have countless options after graduation. Courses in journalism, mass communication, public relations, and advertising will guide you to success within the government, healthcare, Internet Marketing, mediation, nonprofits, business administration, and more. Here is a list of the current top ten universities in America for a Communication Major, along with their course requirements.

Read More

Facing Your Fears: How to Talk with College Representatives


There can be a number of intimidating encounters that you will experience along your college admissions journey; among them is when you’re directly communicating with college admission representatives at college fairs. You may feel as though you have to be careful with your words and the way in which you present yourself to them, or that they come to college fairs to hunt down information on prospective students. However, these common misconceptions are false. College representatives come to college fairs simply as resources. All they want to do is provide you with as much information about their school as they can and to answer any questions or concerns that you have. They are not there to find out your deepest darkest secrets and put your name on a list of future rejections. So no need to fear, here’s a guide on topics you can discuss with college representatives. be-specific

Be Specific

When speaking with an admissions representative, you should always ask questions that are specific to the particular college or university that they are representing, rather than asking broader, general questions that can simply be answered on the College Board website. For example, instead of asking what the GPA or SAT/ACT standards are for that school, ask about the kinds of aspects that the school particularly looks for in prospective students. Try asking more open-ended questions rather than yes/no questions so that you are given as much information as possible.

Do Research

You should also do a bit of research on the colleges that you are interested in looking into before you attend the fair, so that you have a better understanding of the school as well as some things you may want to ask the representatives. Ask them about specific academic programs at their school or the campus environment. Not only does this allow you to have more accurate information, but it also shows the representative that you genuinely have an interest in that particular school. Don’t worry too much about that last part though; like I said, they’re not hunting for prospective students. This is just something that they appreciate, and may take note of when they review your application. However, do not be afraid to talk to representatives from schools you have never heard of because you might end up liking it a lot more than other schools you researched.


Act Casual

More than anything, the discussion between you and a college representative is nothing more than a conversation. So don’t treat it as if it’s an interview that your whole future depends on. Act casually, and speak to them like they’re actual people that you’re interested in speaking to. This doesn’t mean that you should rest your feet on a table and share a joke or two with them, however. It’s just important to keep in mind that these people are just here to help you; nothing more, nothing less.

So just keep in mind that college representatives are simply sources of information about particular schools, and there's absolutely no harm in speaking with them. You'll probably leave the college fair with so much more information than you expected if you do.



Choosing to Attend a Private Versus Public High School


Private vs Public. This has been a debate that has been taking place from the beginning of the rise of the educational system that has been present in our country since the early 1900s. What once was a one-for-all education in a town schoolhouse, turned into the formation of city and state funded public schools, which led many parents to consider an alternative education experience to what their city provides- private school. Now I am a self-proclaimed, ‘’private school girl”. However, it wasn’t always that way, because I was fortunate enough to attend two of my city’s three magnet schools while at the elementary level. Once time for middle school came around, rumors of my city’s ‘’bad’’ middle and high schools broke out. I heard about gangs, drugs, and bullying worse than what I was currently experiencing in elementary school. My brother had attended private school all of his life, while I, thinking private school, is ‘wack’, decided to stay enrolled in the public school system until I graduated elementary and then switch for middle and high school.

This September marked six years since I have been enrolled in private school, and I’m proud to say that I feel, my parents and I have made the right choice. Many people felt uneasy upon hearing my desire to leave public school, with declaring statements such as ‘’it’s a waste of money’, or that it wouldn’t benefit me any more than public school did. They also marvel at the fact that I wake up earlier than most teens do, just to be able to travel from my home in suburban New York, (Westchester County), and into the hustle and bustle in Manhattan (where my school is located). As I have previously stated, I personally have discovered that private school is the right fit for me, and I have written this article to dispel any myths that may stand in the way of deciding between the two.


MYTH #1: Private School children are rich and arrogant

Now this is just a hasty generalization (yes, and ode to AP English!). As always, there are plenty of shows, one example being Gossip Girl, which show private school to be a haven for the wealthy and social elites. Do not be fooled by this-- many individuals who attend private schools are scholarship students, meaning that they really can’t afford to be there. I, for, one am a scholarship student. Upon graduating from middle school, my parents, who were having financial issues, did not know whether I would be able to continue in private school or not. Luckily, I was contacted by my current high school and I received a scholarship that has been a big help to my family financially.

Don’t be blinded by the hype of the media. Private school students are just like every other kid, most aren’t rich or ‘’privileged’’, but have just chosen that particular educational route.

MYTH #2: All Private Schools wear uniform

Although most private schools do wear uniform, many do not. There are Montessori Schools, and other independent schools that do not place a uniform requirement on your schooling. If you are someone with a passion for fashion, who thrives on other’s compliments of their outfits, accessories, e.t.c., then private school can still be an option. Some have a uniform that is optional but not mandatory; others have mandatory uniforms, while others have no uniform at all. Never let a fear of uniform influence your high school decision, because uniform isn’t even a factor in some private schools.


MYTH #3: Private school is ‘’harder’’ than public school (or more academically rigorous)

This myth is completely subjective. Yes, some private schools can be more academically challenging than public schools, but this isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. Not all private schools are rigorous, or better academically, than a public school. I wouldn’t advise anyone to weigh the academic rigor of a high school, or any school, based on whether its public or not. The amount of academic rigor that a school has in its curriculum is unique to every school. Some schools have numerous AP courses, other schools have very few. Some promote the IB diploma, while others recommend dual enrollment. Beyond the private and public school spheres, there are many different types of high schools, all which vary in rigor. Some are rigorous, others aren’t. A private school isn’t necessarily more rigorous than public school, and vice versa.

MYTH #4: Private School student are ‘’disadvantaged’’ when it comes to college admissions

Now this is just one big lie. This is a lie that almost stopped me from applying to the private high school that I currently attend now. While in eighth grade, I was told that top ranked colleges (Ivies, Stanford, and such), do not admit private school kids, that they prefer those who make do with what they have been given, which is the reason why they are said to ‘’prefer’’ public school students.

There are plenty of great public schools, but my city just doesn’t have them. My deciding on attending private school was influenced by my strong desire to learn, which I felt would be put to use in classes with smaller class sizes.

I knew I wanted to attend private school, but I had thought that I ruined my chance at top college admission because of it. Little did I know, there have been the occasional alumni of my school that have went on to attend prestigious institutions such as Harvard and Columbia. It is extremely rare, but it does happen.

College admissions are based on a holistic review, meaning that they take everything into account, starting with the high school you attended. Do not fear, colleges aren’t looking to expel public school applicants, admit private, or vice versa, they are looking for a diverse class, filled with students from all walks of life. Going to a public or private high school will not be an advantage or disadvantage when pertaining to college admissions.



Now we have come to the end of our article, the point where you decide if a private or public school education is right for you. Whether you are looking to start high school or college, here are some factors to consider when deciding to take the private vs public school route.

A. Can I survive in a large school?

Private schools tend to be small, while some public schools house as many as 5,000 students. If you hate the impersonal feeling of a large school and thrive in a more intimate environment, then private school may be a viable choice for you.

B. What class size suits me best?

Some people thrive on lecture style classes, and can still stay in tune with a professor despite being surrounded by a large group of students. Others prefer a smaller, more intimate, classroom setting, one open for discussion and comments on observations.

C. Is religious education important to me?

Many private schools enforce religion into the curriculum, public schools do not. Is religion important to you? Would you like to be surrounded by students and teachers who share your faith/religious beliefs?

Those are all things to think when considering any school, whether private or public. I hope this article can get you one step closer to making your choice.




Three Ways to Choose the Best Fit College For You


Choosing a college is tough stuff. Whether you’re a high schooler, or an undergrad looking out the far, foggy horizon of grad school., choosing a college that’s right for you is tough stuff. But, thankfully, not impossible.

And even more thankfully, if you’re a high schooler, it’s easier than you might think.

Here is where I’ll give you a four step formula to choosing the right college for you that’ll ensure a low-anxiety admissions process: examining your skill set, research, deciding on deal breakers, and making your final decision. As a teenager, it may already seem difficult to navigate just exactly what you want to be doing for the next couple of decades – a valid claim. But thankfully, self-analyzation comes first.


This is the part where you take a step back and evaluate yourself. If you grew up with your parents telling you that you were the best at everything, then quite frankly, you’re already behind.

It’s easy to catch up, though. (First thing's first is to leave any and all ego at the door.) 

Heading straight away into college with a major isn’t a necessity; you’ll be stuck taking all your general requirements freshman year. After that, you’ll sort of need to have one. 

On one hand, figuring out what you really want to do in your first year seems like the most fool proof plan: classes in college tend to be more engaging and reminiscent of the real life situations of the particular field than anything you could find in a high school. Take a philosophy class, or a biblical studies class, or a class on old world piracy. 

On the other hand, letting yourself wander around aimlessly without a goal in mind, if not a major, isn't the best idea. Certain majors and programs have you working on specific requirements in your freshman year, which would set you behind in terms of credits. You'd be forcing yourself to work harder in the long run. And the key to college is working smart, not hard (don’t tell your parents that though).

So self-evaluate. What are you good at? What are you favorite subjects at school? What do your personal skills, however minuscule they might seem, and your interests within the realm of academia have in common? Are you more critical, or more creative? Can you speak well, or explain things well? Would you rather write a book or read it? Does math make your head hurt? Does reading Shakespearian literature? What are the coolest careers to you? What topics have you researched and uncomfortable amount about?

And while you’re at it, be as brutally honest as possible without beating yourself up. You may have a thousand weaknesses, but a single strength could take you places you could never imagine.



Thinking back to my own personal college decision process, this was probably the hardest part because I did it after I researched and fell in love a few schools already. Deal breakers should be hashed out beforehand and be kept in the back of your head (or on paper) as a reference point while you research.

I don’t think this is a question we ask ourselves enough during the college process: when it comes to your education, what are you not willing to sacrifice?

Whether it’s communal bathrooms in the dorms, or a lack of sports enthusiasm, or the school being too far away from home, or the school having very little people of color – there’s probably at least two things about each of the schools you’re considering that you won’t be happy with. Make a little list for yourself. You just went through all that painful self-analyzation, right? What are your needs a student?

Mind you, the list shouldn’t have longer than five deal breakers. A perfect school isn’t a real thing for most people – and that’s perfectly okay. It's also perfectly okay to end up compromising on them.

You need to make a list, and a small list, of your absolute necessities in a school, and stick with it. It’ll be helpful when you’ve done all your research and start picking off potential places to learn.

For me, my absolute necessity was diversity. I grew up the only Somali and Muslim in my whole school, and I graduated that way. It was too emotionally and mentally tiring to not have people like me around, and the only way I was active in my local community was through school, so I wouldn't be making many friends outside of school. I turned down an acceptance second best university in my state for being a PWI (predominantly white institution) and I haven’t looked back.

So when you make those deal breakers, make sure you keep your specific realities in mind. Your background, your parents financial state, your personal shortcomings, and your personal needs. It matters because your experience with education matters.


Alright, time to get online. And not on social media.

I’m watching you, punk.

Get to research. You can’t handle any situation without accurate information. This step has a few parts in itself, so I apologize for cheating (admittedly, it’s also the least straight forward). It’s important to research the schools you’re considering, the degrees you’re considering, and the careers you’re considering.

It doesn’t have to be a very structured research center either -  just grab a bowl of ice cream and start Googling stuff. Or, if you’re that painfully organized, grab the bowl of ice cream, a pen, and take some notes.

It’s important to do as much research as possible in whatever amount of time afforded to you when it comes to choosing a school. Some great questions to investigate online would be whether the institution makes changing majors (or double majoring) easy, what their retention rate is, how their graduates do in the job market after graduation, as well as it’s core strengths. There isn’t a single school that does everything at a hundred percent. It’s why there are dozen different Ivy League schools.

You wouldn’t pass over Columbia for Princeton when you’re going to be doing Religious Studies just because it’s Princeton

It’s important to match the right school to the right degree or program as well. This is especially important if you’re going to be going into any science or math field. For instance: if you’d like to be an engineer, what type of engineer would you like to be? Engineering has different degree programs that equip you with different skill sets. Would you like to work in a specific field? Do you want flexibility with your future career? What sorts of problems will you be able to solve by the time you leave school? It’s important to know just what exactly what you can do and which road you’ll go on with the piece of paper they’ll be handing you at the end of those four or five years.

It’s arguably the most important to match the right degree to the right school. You may not be exactly where you think you’ll be a decade from now, but you’re probably going to be somewhere near it. Even careers have pros and cons, and money can definitely be one of them for people who’ll have certain financial obligations in the future. I do urge you to not weigh money over passion, though.

How much will you possibly make?  Is the job pool saturated? Will there be a decline in positions over the next ten years? Could you go overseas with this degree? Could you switch fields with relative ease?

Also, for the record, research by word of mouth is important too. Talk to you high school teachers, family, friends, and even people within fields that interest you. You might get completely new perspectives than you thought you ever would.



Well, finally. After months, or weeks, or days, or even several hours tapping the heck out of your keyboard, you’re equipped to make a decision. You’re well informed about who you are, what you can do, where you want to go, and what you’ll need wading through those post-secondary education waters. You may even have a couple of admissions papers laying around somewhere as you read this.

You’re ready to make an awesome decision.

So…pick one.

That’s about it at this point, honestly.

Now this is where the understandable amount of doubt kicks in. What if you really aren’t ready to make a decision about where you’re going? What if your second best option was really the best and you passed it up over something arguably nonsensical? What if you hate your major? Your school? What if you’re making all the wrong moves?

That’s the great thing about life: you very nearly always have options, especially when it comes to higher education. If you’ve got to switch majors, or even transfer, it’s possible. Taking the time to choosing wisely doesn’t mean that you’ll be stuck with that particular choice forever.


No one said this was an easy process. And if they did, they’re either a pretentious liar or their life hasn’t gotten complicated enough yet. Complexity is necessary to existence (although you should save all that existential stuff for your inevitable foray into a Philosophy class).

This is tough stuff. Luckily, if you read all of this, you’re tough stuff too.

So get out there and get to work! You’ll be thanking your high school self in a few years on the line.


The best website for dissecting careers and degrees: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search

Engineering Q&A from the Engineering Barbie herself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qABzig5giHs

About Student Loans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-Lf4ETeiAQ&ab_channel=HowtoAdult



Four Methods to Organize Your College Application Materials


If I’ve been known to be borderline obsessive about two things, they would be college and organization. I’d made my first college-themed binder in the seventh grade, taking my list of my top colleges at the time and collecting statistics to organize into the huge pink folder. Now, with college a lot more relevant and right around the corner, I’ve caught onto more quick ways to make the whole process a lot easier and more accessible for all of you guys!

College List Organization

 When I was first sifting through hundreds of college listings online, I had no idea where to start and how to keep track of the information I was getting in an accessible way. Let’s just say Google Sheets has been a college application lifesaver, saving me so much time and effort by keeping everything I need to know exactly where I can find it easily.

Every time I come across a college I like, I put it into my college spreadsheet. Within this spreadsheet, all of these categories are filled out: “College Name”, “My Chances”, “Location”, “Number of Undergraduates”, and “Tuition”. I’ve figured out location and size are the most important factor to me, but my chances of getting in and the cost of the school are also important in deciding, so those are added in as well.

This can definitely be adjusted to whatever factors you may care about the most, but this system has worked incredibly well in getting me a solid list of schools I really love even before my senior year has started.

 If you’re interested in looking into other factors that may play a part for you in choosing a college, there’s a great list of them here to sort through to see what’s really important to you.

Calendar with Deadline Circled

Deadline Organization

If there are two lifesavers I’ve come across while figuring out my deadlines for this upcoming year, they are Google Calendar and Google Sheets.

While I use my phone calendar religiously for anything social going on, I like having Google Calendar on my laptop reserved solely for school and college-related deadlines. It’s insanely helpful just for keeping up with school work, but having the deadlines shown to you in a really visual way helps you to see just how much time you have left.

I also like using Google Sheets, though, just to keep one concise place for keeping track of deadlines. With some applications potentially being due early, it’s easiest for me to lay all of the due dates out with what is due on each day so I can color code my way through the year, marking essays as green for done, yellow for in progress, and red for not yet started.

Essay Organization

First thing’s first: Folders, whether on your regular computer or Google Drive, will save your life. I have one for each college I’m applying to, just to keep each essay where it belongs. Any other essays, like drafts of the Common App or scholarship essays, all have their own folders so that everything has it’s place and I can’t accidentally submit an essay to Northwestern saying why I want to go to UChicago.

Hard copies are super important, at least as far as editing goes. I got a 5-layered magazine rack from IKEA for only $15, and labeled each section as follows: “First Drafts”, “Ready for Revisions”, “Ready to Be Read”, “Last Edits”, and “Submissions”. The first drafts section is probably pretty self explanatory, but the others may not be as easy to grasp if you’re not in my weird organization mindset.

“Ready for Revisions” means it’s not a complete mess, but it’s not close to being done yet. “Ready to Be Read” means it’s been made as good as I can make it on my own, but I need to get other opinions and make those edits before I can submit the essay. “Last Edits” is for essays that have been read and revised a few times, and just need a few last touches before they’re ready for submission. “Submissions” are for finished essays. Ta da, time to send those in (in all their magic college glory that you’ve worked so hard on)!

By having an organized system both on your computer and in real life, it’s a lot less difficult to keep track of what you still have to work on before the approaching deadlines.

As you work on and continue to edit your essays, sometimes it can be hard to have to critique your work as much as you do. For some advice on easy ways to edit your own essays, here are five quick tips.


Life Organization

While it may all be stressful – I get it – it can be totally manageable, especially when you have everything organized. Whenever you find time to work on college applications, everything you need is accessible and catered just to you, making it so much easier than having to pull out the scratch sheet of paper you wrote your dream colleges on back in eighth grade.

Everyone’s way of creating an organized system for dealing with college applications may be a little bit different, but hopefully you’ve gained a tip or two for creating a good organization system on your own. With even a bit more organization in your college search, it can free up so much time for you and really let you enjoy your senior year. And, I mean, who could turn down that offer? Not me, and hopefully not you either. All it takes is a spreadsheet.



Five College Admissions Blogs You Should Be Following!


Some of you may be wondering, “Is YGITW the only source for my college admissions needs?” and the answer is no! There are many different admissions blogs available on the internet (although YGITW is obviously the best ;), but here are six blogs that will help you will all of your admissions questions!

Ivy Coach

Are you interested in the Ivy League? If you answered yes, then this blog is for you! Ivy Coach provides information on the college admissions process for the schools in the Ivy League such as Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth. With the Ivies being some of the most competitive schools in the nation, Ivy Coach is sure to help when it comes to fulfilling your Ivy dream. Along with college admission, the blog also includes information about Ivy League sports and college athletes. Ivy Coach has also received national recognition and has been featured in credible newspapers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Particularly Helpful Posts:

The College Solution

The College Solution is a blog created by Lynn O’Shaughnessy who is a nationally recognized college expert, journalist, author, and educator. Her blog consists of everything from college rankings to finding different scholarships. Her articles provides an expert's view on the college admissions process and this blog is great for many different uses!

Particularly Helpful Posts:

College Coach - The Insider Blog

The Insider Blog contains information for both parents and students. This blog highlights three major aspects: A Parent’s Perspective, School Spotlight, and Scholarship Spotlight. These different topics feature articles about parents, details about specific schools, and scholarships. But, these aren’t the only topics available on the website, College Coach provides various others such as Advice from the Experts and Tips for Acing the Essays. Another unique feature of this blog is that they provide podcasts for students and parents to listen to on an ample amount of topics.

Particularly Helpful Posts:

College Advice from the Princeton Review

Princeton Review is most notably known for its Advanced Placement review books, but did you know that there was a college admissions blog? College Advice from the Princeton Review provides everything about college advice. The menu selector located on the website can be easily navigated. The menu consists of different sections: Apply, Pay, Prep, Study and Succeed. These tabs can be easily located and it can help you with whichever topic you need. A great feature on this blog is that it also includes tools that can help match you to your perfect university and major!

Particularly Helpful Posts:

College Planning Blog from Best College Fit

College Planning from Best College Fit provides great information about the college admissions process. One thing that stands out for this blog is the Readers’ Forum. The forum allows students to send in questions to the blog’s primary contributor, Peter Van Buskirk. He also tailors his articles based on the questions he receives from his readers. This blog is especially helpful because of how applicable these posts can be as well as how personalized.

Particularly Helpful Posts:



Why Should You Consider a Liberal Arts College


When looking at colleges and universities, one problem students most commonly run into is the decision between a Liberal Arts college and a traditional university.  Liberal Arts colleges (LACs) offer a different perspective to post-secondary education and many more students are enrolling into these types of colleges. While both schools provide the opportunity for higher education, there are many factors to consider when deciding which type of post-secondary institution to enroll into.


Class Sizes

Generally, Liberal Arts colleges have smaller class sizes. The student to teacher ratio is considerably less than typical universities. Liberal Arts colleges can have as few as 10-15 students to one teacher in a class while universities could have large seminars and have hundreds of students in one class.

Variety of Majors

Universities tend to have many different options when it comes to different majors and minors you can earn. Liberal Arts colleges have broader majors and less specific subjects. For example, a large university can have different types of biology like Molecular Biology or Biochemistry, while LACs typically offer more general majors which would be like Biology. Larger universities also focus on research more than LACs.

Different Types of Degrees

Since LACs are smaller, they offer more general degree such as Associate's and Bachelor’s degrees. More rigorous and prodigious degrees like P.h.D’s and Graduate School for Medical or Dental majors.


Extracurricular Activities

Larger colleges and universities generally are big on sports. Many of the big universities are apart of Division I sports, while smaller LACs are typically have Division III sports. Both types of institutions offer many different clubs and organizations, but due to the fact that universities have more funding and a higher student body population, more clubs could exist.

Examples of Schools

Some examples of LACs are:

  • Amherst College - Amherst, Massachusetts
  • Carleton College - Northfield, Minnesota
  • Grinnell College - Grinnell, Iowa
  • Pomona College - Claremont, California

Some examples of Major Universities:

  • Yale University - New Haven, Connecticut
  • University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley, California
  • Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, Maryland
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Cambridge, Massachusetts




Three College Admissions Guide Books You Should Consider Investing In


“The most technologically efficient machine that man has invented is the book.”

- Northrop Fyre

With the pressures to finish up your required courses, find scholarships, and deal with the excitement of being a senior in high school, applying to college can be a stressful process, but if you plan ahead of time and do your research, it makes things much easier. But what happens when the internet doesn’t give you much help? That’s where we take the books and find out our information the traditional way. I’ve compiled three books that can help you find the perfect college as well as help you through the college admissions process.


College Handbook 2017 (College Board College Handbook)

This a book that gives you a basic overview of every accredited college and community college in the US, this book can give you that. Every year, the College Board comes out with a new book with updated information. This book is split up into major section: the 4-year colleges and the 2-year colleges. Each section is listed by state and for every college/university they provide a student profile detailing how many students applied, how many were admitted, and how many actually enrolled to the school. The book also included the all the information such as tuition, room and board fees, and admissions requirements. It’s a giant book which is actually one of its cons. It’s not user friendly so it’s a layout that you might need to get used but if you are looking for a book with every single college, this one is for you.



2.The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2015: Students on Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know, 41st Edition By Yale Daily News Staff ($17.01 on Amazon)

If you are looking for a book that contains the student’s perspective of your prospective college, this is your book. This book contains about 300 colleges and universities so I can’t say you could find your college in your book. However, they provide assessments of each school that they have listed. It does have a college finder section in the book that has some statistical information as ACT, SAT, and admission requirements. However, that’s not all. It has some information such as the highest minority attendance, highest female/male attendance, etc. This book prides itself on the student perspective on the school. If you want to get a feel for the student life on campus, this book is perfect. However, beware that the book contains some outdated information about tuition so pair this book with an updated book and you should be fine.


  1. You Got Into Where? How I Received Admission and Scholarships to the Nation’s Top Universities by Joi Wade. ($12.90 on Amazon)

Last but surely not the least, You Got Into Where? by Joi Wade is a guide that can help you in any part of your college application process. This book is the thing you need for if you want to learn about getting the good scores, on how to write essays, and completing those applications. Joi has gone through the struggle and has shared her experience to make the admissions process easier. This book includes a guide on creating a College Master List, how to ace the ACT, how to write essays, and how to get scholarships from top universities.  If you are a senior and looking for something that can give some advice as well as help you through this stressful process, grab this book off of Amazon or Barnes & Nobles and start reading.

I hope these tips will help you out these upcoming year. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions. And as always make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook.


https:/ store.collegeboard.org

Five Interesting Pros and Cons of HBCUs and PWIs


So you’re stuck? “PWI or HBCU?” Read on to discover things about both. *DISCLAIMER: Of course this doesn’t apply to ALL HBCUs and PWIs, these are just some common things and things I gathered from research! I’m not trying to make an HBCU seem better than a PWI nor am I trying to make a PWI look better than an HBCU! I suggest taking a tour around the campus and asking current students or alumni for the truth!

The school year is about to start or may have already started for some of you. You seniors have begun to seriously think about schools you may want to apply to and may have already started applying. Some of you may be thinking, “Do I want to attend an HBCU or a PWI?” You may not even know the differences between the two. If that’s the case, this is for you!

What is an HBCU?

HBCU stands for Historically Black College and University! It’s defined in Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as “a school of higher learning that was accredited and established before 1964 and whose principal mission was the education of African-Americans.” There are 106 HBCUs.

What is a PWI?

PWI stands for Predominately White Institution. PWIs are just schools of higher learning in which whites accounts for at least 50% of the school’s enrollment.

  1. You have a better chance of getting a scholarship from a PWI than an HBCU.

That’s simply because PWIs have higher endowments, which are money or other financial assets that are donated to universities or colleges, than HBCUs. They say that if you add up all the endowments from all the HBCU’s, they would still have less than 10% of Harvard’s endowment.  Also HBCUs don’t have as much financial support from alumni so they don’t have money to give out as many scholarships as PWIs. You could get full rides to the University of Georgia (UGA), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Florida State University (FSU), and Alabama but could only get a partial scholarship from Howard. If you don’t get a scholarship from any institution, HBCU’s tuition tends to be cheaper than that of a PWI.


  1. Homecoming at an HBCU is more reputable than homecoming at a PWI.

Homecoming at an HBCU is a week of enjoyment, from the motivational speakers, to the games, and to the concerts. As a minority, it makes you feel like you’re “home”.  Homecoming at a PWI is different.  Your school’s location also plays a role! Alabama’s homecoming is probably nothing like Michigan State’s Homecoming!  At HBCU homecomings, people look forward to yard shows seeing top Hip-Hop & R&B performers.  Not all HBCUs have “lit” homecomings though, it tends to only be the bigger schools. 

  1. The bands and dancers are different at an HBCU and PWI.

Bands at an HBCU are more likely to be the show style type of band. PWI’s bands are seen to be corp style. You know the song “Cha Cha” by D.R.A.M?  Tennessee State’s band performed that last year at a football game. Bands at PWI’s are more so infamous for their band formations. Ohio State’s band is real nice with it. They once did Michael Jackson formations and moon-walked across the football field! Oh, and the dancers?  Check it out for yourself.  Alabama State’s Stingettes! An experience you can’t find at a PWI. Oklahoma State’s Dance Team.

  1. At a PWI, people are more likely to recognize your school’s name than at an HBCU.

Even though Howard is one of the best HBCUs, if you say “Howard” there are some people who may not know that the school exists.  If you say “I go to Florida State”, most likely they’ll know what you’re talking about.  People think that this will also play a role into you getting a job opportunity or not. Some say if the person at the job doesn’t know much about HBCUs, they would take the person with a Master’s degree from Georgia Tech than the person with a Master’s degree from Clark Atlanta. That is of course a theory though.  Personally, I’d rather take someone with experience, no matter the school name.


  1. HBCU’s sometimes have smaller classes than PWI’s.

Some say that HBCU’s have smaller classes than PWI’s. This isn’t always the case though.  HBCU professors may know your name while PWI professors can’t keep up with the plethora of names. With a smaller class size, you can get more one-on-one support from your professor than you would at a larger university.  Also with a larger class size, the way you receive your education could also be different than being in a small class. With a larger class size, classes are more likely to be lecture hall classes. Lecture classes don’t work for everyone, but they do work for some people especially if you like to stay to yourself. Smaller class sizes promote an interactive setting, where there will be a lot of student participation.

Whether you choose to attend an HBCU or a PWI, make sure you conduct your own research because every school is different!  A PWI may work better or an HBCU may work better for you. Some people would also say to go to an HBCU for undergrad because the campus life is one that you can’t get outside of an HBCU and to go to a PWI for grad! Every school is going to have its own faults honestly, but just make the best decision for your needs!

Want to learn more about HBCUs?  Check out HBCU Buzz and HBCU Lifestyle!

Want more viewpoints?  Check out these 2 YouTube videos on other people comparing HBCUs and PWIs!  Alice Wheeler’s video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzYpbXQclNw )  & Brelynn’s video! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Po2RUoHNqY )



The Differences Between US and UK Institutions


As a prospective international student, before starting the applications journey, the prospect of attending a school in the States always felt inaccessible. Coming from the UK, it is fairly standard to attend a university quite close to home; studying abroad for all four years of your higher education is unusual and somewhat unique. Yet over the past few months as I enter my final year of high school, this dream of attending a US institution has become ever more real and very much possible. I always knew the difficulties involved when applying to universities in two separate countries however, the depth needed for American applications in comparison to that of the UK’s is astonishing. As an aid to all those international students dreaming of studying in the States, I have collated a list of the biggest differences between the two to assist you in your college decisions.


1.The emphasis on YOU!

Every college in America wants to get to know you as a person. This is something that really struck me when first researching into the admissions process, everything seemed so personal, each institution wants to know how you will fit as an individual onto their campus.

2.  The focus on extracurriculars 

When applying to an institution in the UK, the applications process will consist of your school grades, one Personal Statement and one school reference; these two components are sent to each University you apply to and that’s it! Of course they care about what you are doing outside of the classroom however be prepared to tell American institutions in full everything you decide to do with your spare time, it is a big focus in the States and very ordinary for your American counterparts.


3.  You are applying to the WHOLE school 

When applying to a US University, if admitted, you are admitted to the whole school. There is no need to apply to a specific course or major; you can decide once you’re in or when applying if you know for certain. For me, this was one of the strangest elements, as UK institutions require an application to one specific course for four years. Personally, I think the US system is much more freeing and if you do decide you have changed your mind on what you want to study, it’s no big deal.

Applying to university can be a scary time for anyone but with the prospect of moving thousands of miles away from home, it is important to know your stuff and do your research before committing to studying abroad. I hope this article has cleared up any confusions prospective international students have on US institutions. With admissions tests, references, school grades and extracurriculars it can be daunting, but with your organisation and dedication who knows where it could take you.



Why You Should Consider an All Women's College


Prospective students often overlook many of the options they have for their higher education, and one of the options that are overlooked the most often is an all women’s colleges. Many will crinkle their noses at the thought of a women’s college. But there’s so much more to women’s colleges than what meets the eye. guys.jpg

Boys? No problem. One of the major concerns that make people turn away from women’s colleges is the idea that you will not encounter men. False. No matter where you are in the world, you are bound to run into them! A portion of the faculty is likely to be male, and the environment around you will be filled with men as well. Barnard College, for example, is located in the heart of New York City, so of course there will be men everywhere. Plus, Barnard College is in a partnership with Columbia University (which is right across the street!) where Barnard students and Columbia students will often share classes and facilities.

The Setting There is no experience that can be compared to being surrounded by bright, empowering, motivated young women. Being surrounded by powerful women who create their own success is likely to have a positive impact on you. In women’s colleges, each woman inspires another, creating a positive change. It creates a sisterhood and tight-knit student and alumni network unlike any other. It’s uplifting and motivating to know that you’re attending the same school as powerful women of the past, present, and future.


Confidence in Check

At any women’s college, women are encouraged to dominate. There is no more being the bashful one who knows the right answer but just doesn’t say it. Peers and professors push students to rise to high expectations and achieve. There have been published findings that associate all women classrooms with more active participation. With this push as well as support from fellow women, attending a women’s college will boost your confidence. Women’s colleges develop the strong and unapologetic women that become leaders. Bryn Mawr College celebrates its “bold vision, for women, for the world” which reflects the empowering ideas that these colleges hold for their students.

Small Student Populations Most women’s colleges have an enrollment between 1,000 and 2,000 full time students. These tiny communities enable each college to develop a close network of women who support each other. These populations also mean that the class sizes are likely to be smaller and more personal, adding to the experience. You will be able to form lasting bonds with women who will stand by you. As a junior in high school, I have been looking into attending an all women’s school quite a bit after I visited Barnard College. I fell in love with this school and its idea of having their women ‘major in unafraid.’ I’d never heard of anything like it, and it drew me in. Even the interest in women’s colleges has driven me to empower myself with knowledge and the great opportunities that await me. I hope that the negative stereotypes of women’s colleges fade and give way to the truth and light of the successful women who rise from these colleges. I encourage every girl out there to look into women’s colleges and see if the fit is right, because this opportunity is huge!



How to Avoid Cliche College Admission Essay Topics


          The mandatory essay of the Common App and other college-specific streamlined applications are one of the few opportunities given to showcase the student’s individualized character separate from academic statistics and achievements.  While every part of the Common Application is to be taken seriously and concisely, the personal essay equally requires a mindful ease and authenticity. Students are constantly asking how to “stand out from other applicants.” The more appropriate and less overbearing question to pose to oneself is: How can I present my unique character in the most authentic way possible?  The goal in mind should be to pose a well-written personal narrative distinctive to you; originality can often be lost if you are extraneous in your efforts to differentiate yourself from others.


Most Commonly Used Essay Prompt

According to the Common App’s 2015-2016 selected essay topics, 47 percent of the 800,000+ applicant pool chose to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent.  It was the most frequently selected prompt of the time.  Out of the five essay prompts offered by the Common App, why was this prompt the most commonly used?  Perhaps the reasoning could lead to the prompt’s broadness in scope in comparison to the other essay topics.  If you are looking to highly distinguish yourself from other applicants, I would suggest to test the other given prompts.  However, if you strongly feel that your topic of interest does not best fit in the more narrowly-posed questions, do not feel pressured to constrict yourself to another topic just to be “different.”

Once you have reviewed the question(s) being asked of you, you may start to think of the content of your essay.  Here are some things to avoid, and to keep in mind.


Write About a Fact Already Stated Elsewhere in the Application

It is important to take note of which accomplishments, interests, etc. are already noted in other parts of your application.  Your essay should reflect a facet of yourself not already known to the admissions counselor.  For example, if you have participated in a varsity sport in your high school career, and have indicated as so in the “Activities” portion of the application, do not focus your essay around that point.  It has already been made obvious to the admissions counselor and would therefore make for a less interesting read.

Select A Crazy Format

I have seen unique formatting choices made by previously admitted students; however, the format of your essay should not be so pretentious that it distracts the application reviewer from the factual content of the piece.  Stick to a standard paragraph format, or review any unique formatting choices with a trusted English teacher.


Read Other Students’ Essays

Find inspiration and ideas from other essays that have been successfully admitted into prospective colleges and universities.  You can either read an essay from a close family member or friend, or do an online search.  A personal preference of mine is: Grade Saver: Admitted Application Essays

Write a List of Things Significant to You

A moment, accomplishment, or failure of any significance to you, whether big or small, can make a great essay.  Start with a brainstormed list of any instance of significance to yourself, big or small.  Then, narrow the list down to topics that you feel have the potential to be expanded into a greater essay.  From there, assign the smaller list of ideas to a prospective question, or questions.


Review Your Essay, and Review It Again

Your first draft should never be your final draft.  Once you feel that you have laid a foundation for your essay, leave it alone for a few days.  Revise your essay with a fresh insight.  Then, ask for secondary audiences to review your essay.

*TIP: Create a list of questions to ask of your reviewers once they have read your essay.  Questions such as: What was the mood of the essay?  In your opinion, does the essay most accurately reflect my everyday demeanor?  If your reader believes your essay not to be the most precise reflection of yourself, ask for an explanation and personally review the essay once again and make any further revisions.

Remember that colleges want to read about the interesting quirks and experiences that have shaped your persona.  Your voice is the most valuable tool that you possess, use it to your advantage. Get to writing.  Good luck!




How to Handle the Stress of College Applications


As much as it is daunting to begin college applications, it is exciting. College is your next big step in life. The time you spend in college results in lifelong friends, treasured memories, and experiences that will last a life time.

          As it is nearing college application deadlines for the 2017 fall semester, most seniors (like myself) are fearing these deadlines. Although college applications can be overwhelming  there are many ways for you to ease the stress for yourself.


Start Early

I sound like a broken record saying this, don't I? I know you have heard it over and over again but I am only repeating this ear bleeding phrase because it is wise, very wise. The earlier you start all of the applications the less daunting the deadlines will become.

For most of us the essays are the most intimidating, but the best advice I will give to you is to just write. Don't think about it, just write. Don’t vacillate over topics, word choice etc. just start writing about the first idea/topic that comes to mind that best fits the prompt you are asked to answer. Once you have finished writing, simply put it away and don't look at your essay for at least a day.

Allowing yourself to freely write will not only help put your mind at ease that you have at least started or attempted your essays, but also break the ice and the potential writers block that you may have had.

Also, putting your essay away for at least a day will give yourself a fresh brain to revise the essay and formulate clear thoughts about your writing. At this time you can ask yourself if the topic you wrote about best answered the prompt, if the structure contributed well to the message you are trying to convey, or does the word choice match the style you want to portray.

Starting the applications early and completing them little by little (remember baby steps) will help the process along and the deadlines, like I said, wont seem as daunting. Dedicating time each day or every other day for about 30 minutes to an hour on college applications will also move the process along nicely.


Another key detail to relieving the stress of college applications is to plan. Get out your planner or print a monthly calendar off the internet and write in all of your deadlines. ALL OF THEM. Plan out  deadlines for yourself to complete rough and final drafts of your essays, teacher visits to revise your essays, and plan the days where you need to remind your teachers about the recommendation letter you asked them to write for you. Planning everything out AND sticking to it will help relieve your stress tremendously.



Lastly and maybe most importantly you need to realize a few things.The college application process is rigorous, time consuming, and stressful to say the least.  While it may be all of the above, it is not the end all be all.

With that being said, if you feel insecure about certain aspects of your application know that someone else is also just as insecure about certain parts of their application. Even the senior with what you may see as a perfect resume has insecurities too. You are not alone in this process. I am a senior this year, just like several other thousands of students and I am insecure about certain pieces of my application, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

As you begin your college applications show yourself off, brag about everything you have accomplished and show the college admissions who you are and why you deserve to attend their university. Start early ( I’m definitely sounding like a broken record), have parents and teachers revise your essays so you are able to put your best foot forward.

Maybe, at the end of the day you don’t end up at Yale even with the countless hours spent at the Humane Society or sleepless nights studying throughout your high school career, but know that wherever you end up it will be the perfect place for you.

As my parents have always said, let the chips fall where they may.

I wish you all (almost) stress-free applications!