5 Fool Proof Ways to Stay Motivated to Study

5 Fool Proof Ways to Stay Motivated to Study

If you’re like me, finding the motivation to study can be hard. The slightest, most irrelevant thing can distract you, and unlike the general population that can just sit down and instantly get to studying, you need that extra push. This article is filled with tips and tricks to motivate you to stop watching the paint dry and sit down and finally get to studying.

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AP Exam Survival Guide: AP Environmental Science

AP Exam Survival Guide: AP Environmental Science

The AP Environmental Science course revolves around the ideas and concepts concerning the interrelationships of the natural world. With the wide range of topics that are covered in this course, students must understand a plethora of content to succeed on the AP exam. This article discusses the AP Environmental Science course as well as study tips to prepare for the exam.

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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.

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15 Ways to Have A Successful Junior Year of High School


Oh, how time flies. Just yesterday you were a freshman excited about high school and look at you now, about to be a senior; they grow up so fast. You can’t have fun just yet. 15 tips will be provided, advising you to make the best decision to finish junior year off strong! Tip #1: Stay Focused and Make Goals

Junior year is the most stressful year of high school. With the ACT and SAT, college admissions, scholarships, and society, it’s extremely easy to lose focus on the bigger picture. Remember why you need this last semester to be perfect.

  • Write on sticky notes what you hope to accomplish and stick them everywhere.
  • Set daily goals. For example, you can make a goal to speak with your teachers on ways to improve your grades.

Tip #2: Get Organized!

College mail, test prep materials, study guides, and scholarship information can pile up rapidly making a cluttered mess. Junior year is not a time to have clutter! Grab all those loose papers and find a nice comfortable place to sit. Make a “trash” pile and a “keep” pile and divide the loose papers into those two categories.

If you don't have one already, get a good planner. You can use planners track your homework, events, holidays, and much more. Here’s a good article to show you how to organize your planner. Don’t see a planner you like? No worries, you can use a personal journal and decorate it to your liking. Here’s an article showing you how to make and use a bullet journal.

Tip #3: Begin Thinking About College

Don’t fall behind the rest of your peers by skipping out on the college search. The college admissions process is competitive and gets even more competitive the closer it gets to application season. You can access college websites and forums discussing colleges. Here is an article on choosing the college best fit for you.

Tip #4: Visit Colleges

College visits are highly important. They can make or break your decision on a school. If you walk on campus and you just get a feeling of home that usually means this is the school for you. You also can get first-hand testimonies from current students and can meet different reps from the school. Who knows, you might just stand out on the visit and get a surprise email from the admissions director. Visiting colleges aren’t always accessible to everyone. Here is an article about learning about colleges without visiting them.

Tip #5: Begin Looking for Scholarships

On the YouGotIntoWhere? blog, monthly scholarships are posted to help you with the scholarship hunt. There are many websites that match you with scholarships. Scholarships.com, Fastweb.com, Cappex.com, and CollegeGreenlight.com are common sites to find scholarships. Also, check to see if your local banks and churches offer scholarships. Here’s an article to assist you in search of scholarships. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated. Good luck!

Tip #6: Prep for Standardized Tests

  • Here is an article comparing the new ACT to the new SAT.
  • People are willing to tell you their experiences
  • There is an article on seven ways to improve your score.
  • Lastly, there is an article informing you on how to get through the SAT/ACT by the end of your junior year of high school.

Tip #7: Begin Asking for Recommendation Letters

Your favorite teacher, your track coach, your vocal coach, your pastor, or even your supervisors are good people to ask for recommendation letters. Colleges and scholarships both as for recommendation letters.

An article was written about a beginner’s guide to recommendation letters. You should check it out.

Tip #8: Meet with your Counselor

The good old counselor, your best friend throughout your junior year of high school. You should meet with them initially to make sure you are on the right path to graduation. They can motivate you, and essentially they can make the second semester of junior year easier for you. Building this relationship also means you can have another person who can write you a recommendation letter.

Tip #9: Expand your Resume

Expanding your resume means to add more things on your resume to make you stand out in the application pool. As a junior in high school, a resume is a must. It can be used to get jobs, to get internships, to get recommendation letters, and to get admitted to colleges. For colleges, an activities resume will be most common. There are many templates out there in the world for activities resumes but if you like to make your own from scratch, here’s a guide for you to use. 

Tip #10: Get More Involved

Join more clubs and extracurriculars in your school and community. Clubs and extracurriculars on your resume show that you want to learn outside of your required eight hours. It also shows your initiative to better yourself. The longer you’re in a club, the better.

Attempt to become the president, vice-president, secretary, or treasurer. For sports teams, try to become captain or co-captain.

 This will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right clubs. 

Tip #11: FAFSA?

Yes, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is what colleges will use to accept and award financial aid to you. The application opens October 1st of every year. This will explain what FAFSA is. 

Tip #12: Find a Form of Income

There are many articles about getting part-time jobs in high school but here is the article I wrote on making an income during high school. My parents won’t let me get a job? There still are ways to find income. You can babysit, house sit, or pet sit. You can become a tutor and more. There are pros and cons of having a job in high school. 

Tip #13: Get Closer to Your Classmates

These are the people who will walk across the stage with you. These are the people who you will see at your class reunions. These are the people who will support you in life. If you haven't made good friendships yet, now is a great time to start.

Tip #14: Get Healthy

You should pay attention to your body's physical and emotional needs due to the stress that you will be under from school work, activities, and more. Exercise, eat healthy, and talk to someone if you are not feeling as happy as you believe you should.

Tip #15: Relax and Have Fun Finishing junior year of high school is stressful but it doesn’t have to be the death of you. You don’t have to think “do this, do that, I need to find this, I need to stand out” every day. Devote days or hours to relaxing, and no, sleep does not count. Meditation, running, cleaning, and doing any of your hobbies are good ways to relax. There is an article on de-stressing or relaxing productively. 

I hope you enjoyed my 15 tips on finishing your junior year of high school strong. You will do good this semester; I have faith in you. Good luck!


3 Useful Note Taking Tips for Students

3 Useful Note Taking Tips for Students

Whether your teacher is giving a lecture or you’re studying for an exam, note-taking will always be an essential part of the academic experience. However, students may find themselves unsure of how to take notes effectively and efficiently. This post discovers tips to keep in mind when taking notes.

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3 Ways to Start Preparing for AP Exams


Although it may seem early to start preparing for AP Exams, May will be here before you know it. The earlier you can start preparing, the better off you will be when it comes to actually taking the test in a few months. With that being said, many of us don’t even know where to start when it comes to preparing for exams. In hopes of helping everyone out, I have a few tips on how to start preparing for AP Exams.

Preparation Tip #1: Utilize Prep Books

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to preparing, a prep book is probably the best option. Prep books, or review books, are basically books with a shortened and simplified explanation of everything that will be covered on whichever AP Exam you are taking, as well as some practice exams or materials.

The book search

Before using the prep book, you need to find the right one for you. Barron’s and Princeton Review’s review books are arguably the most popular; however, there are many others published by different companies. To choose a prep book, I would ask people who have previously taken the course which one they found most helpful if they used any. If no one you know has taken the AP Exam you are planning on taking, read reviews of the books online. However, when you are taking advice from others remember to take it with a grain of salt and gather your own opinion based on many sources. Ultimately, you probably won’t know your preference until you have the book in your hands.

Buying your book

Once you have chosen the book that you want to use to start preparing, you need to actually obtain the book. If money is an issue, many libraries do have prep books that you can borrow. If they don’t have the specific book that you need, many libraries will order one for you if you request it. The downside to borrowing a book is that you cannot write on the practice exams or highlight and annotate the actual book. If this is not a problem, then borrowing is a free option! If you are willing to shell out some money to purchase your own prep book, then that is a great option as well. Having your own prep book means that you can write and highlight in the book. This can be especially helpful if you like highlighting essential information to refer to later. Often, amazon.com has the best deals on prep books, as well as fast shipping. However, if you want to make sure you are getting the best deal, you can utilize the website slugbooks.com. Just type in whatever prep book you are looking for (ex. Princeton Review AP European History) and it will pull up price comparisons from across many different websites so that you can purchase your study materials at the best price!

Strategizing your studying

Now that you have your prep book, using it should be pretty straightforward. Many books provide test-taking strategies, which would be great to read at this point, as AP Exams and tests that you take in class are often two very different things. Read the material that you have covered in class up to this point. Most likely, your textbook does not cover everything on the AP Exam, so doing this will ensure that you have a more complete perspective of the information. It also doesn’t hurt to take one or two of the practice exams, if your book has one. This could give you an early evaluation of where you are so that moving forward, your studying can be more focused and relevant to your struggles. Keep coming back to your prep book as the AP Exam approaches, it will be a useful tool in preparing you utilize it in its entirety!

Preparation Tip #2: Utilize College Board

Another great resource for preparing for AP Exams is the College Board website. The College Board is the organization that creates and administers AP Exams, meaning that they have a wealth of inside information on their website.

To utilize the website’s tools, go to “AP Courses” (https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse). Under this link, there are all of the AP courses that are offered. You can select whatever AP course you are taking and utilize several resources there. For example, under every AP courses link, there are four tabs that are very useful. The tabs at the top are “Course Overview”, “Course Details”, “About the Exam”, and “Exam Practice”. All of these have extremely valuable information. Read all of these tabs to familiarize you with the exam, as well as providing a focused overview of the course. This is important to look at when you start reviewing, as you will get a sense of the general topics that are most important in the eyes of the College Board. As I said, they are the ones who create the test; so knowing the overview and the topics that they find valuable can be a great tool.

Preparation Tip #3: Make Graphic Organizers

Finally, something that you can do to prepare is making graphic organizers! Graphic organizers can be a way of organizing information visually in a way that makes sense to you. I recommend making these when you begin to review, as it is a great way to force yourself to look at all of the information that you have and to organize it comprehensively. For example, if you are taking a history exam, try putting all of the relevant historical events into a master timeline. Or if you are taking a science exam, you can organize notes by-laws, theories, etc. This is a great option for last minute studying, as it allows you to have an overview of what you are learning, as well as review all of your materials.


I wish everyone the best of luck on your AP Exams! Happy studying!

For more advice on AP Exams, check out these articles as well:

AP Human Geography: A Guide to Success in the Course and Exam

AP Overload: 5 Tips On How To Push Through a Rigourous Courseload


6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying to My First College

6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying to My First College

Explore the 6 things I wish I knew before starting my college applications which could have helped me avoid stress. The process was a learning experience. This post will help others not make any of the mistakes I made when I began my college applications.

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What I Learned After Taking AP English Language Composition


Among the several English classes offered at a high school, AP English Language and Composition, or simply, AP Lang, is a class that anyone in any grade in high school has the opportunity to tackle. By tackle, I mean tackle. The average student will gain valuable resources of the English language from taking this class. From writing in-class essays every other week, to memorizing over fifty writing techniques - the class is a lot of work, but it is worth it in the end. I know this from experience, because I am the epitome of the average student. I’ve learned that as time progresses in the class, writing essays will become easier, and although you won’t be able to memorize every literary technique, you will have a basic understanding for future English courses to come. If there is one important philosophy I learned from taking this course, it is that you will soon recognize your strengths and use them to your benefit, and your temporary weaknesses are well, temporary.

It Actually Counts

Since this is an Advanced Placement course, it is important to treat this as a college course, as if you were taking it in college. From my personal experience, although my English teacher was caring and passionate about the subject and teaching her students, she did not stand for hand holding and micromanaging. Piles of hand outs and paper assignments would be given to us at the beginning of the school week, and would usually be due on Thursday or Friday, with no reminders given in the middle of the week. Depending on the different schools and teachers, it might be different for everybody, but keep in mind the workload will get heavy, since it technically is a college preparatory course. On the upside, all the workload will be worth it if you pass the class and score a four or five on the AP exam. The class is weighted, adding some extra love to your grade point average, and it will also count as college credit if you kick butt on the AP exam! For more insight, read over the course description on College Board.


You Are What You Read

In the beginning of the school year, your teacher should state the required books and reading in the class syllabus or curriculum letter. Once you have that list, I recommend you start buying them from the bookstore or borrowing a copy from the library or a friend who had the class. I personally liked owning my own copy of the book because you are able to write and annotate all over it, without the wrath from your friend or the librarian. Plus, some teachers will actually give you credit for coming to class with your own book, or at least your own copy for that unit.

Once you actually have the required reading, try your best to not procrastinate when reading, and actually try finishing the book a couple days before the due date. This helps if you have any class discussions or questions you would want to ask your teacher before an in-class essay or test. Staying on the top of your game with reading is especially beneficial with class discussions. Trust me, there is nothing more embarrassing when you have nothing to contribute to a discussion, or worst, when you get called on. Another helpful tip when it comes to reading is starting second semester, try reading the newspaper or paying more attention to the news in general. Once January rolls around, the AP exam is only three to four months away, and it is better to prepare sooner rather than later. Reading and watching the news will help you on your essays when you need to synthesize or make additional commentary to your writing.

Think Ahead

When it comes to staying organized, a planner or agenda will be your best friend. On top of the assigned book you have to read for a unit, your AP Lang teacher will usually give you practice multiple choice tests and practice AP prompts to prepare you for the AP exam, as well as several oral presentations throughout the year. If you’re like me, who absolutely dreads oral presentations, planning ahead of time instead of the night before will definitely ease your stress and anxiety, and actually help you feel more confident when presenting to the class.


Let Your Words Speak

The AP Lang class is usually mainly graded on the student’s essays, oral presentations, and participation in class. Among the three topics, I found that writing about the book or prompt was more of my strong suit than talking about it. The difficulty of writing normally comes across students when there is a timed writing or an in class essay. In this case, time is usually an angel or the devil, but there is nothing to worry about if you take into consideration the following necessary precautions.

Know your school’s bell schedule. Do you have a block schedule? Does your timed writing happen to fall on an early release day? Even though it is a small tip, knowing how much allotted time you’ll be given and planning out how to manage that time is the number one priority. In addition, learning how to write in a pressured and timed environment will prepare you for the AP exam as well. If your struggle with time, I suggest you give yourself only ten minutes to read the prompt and outline your essay, and use the rest of the time to actually write it.

Know what you’re writing about! This tip applies more to assigned essays with due dates or in-class essays based on an assigned book or reading (this tip does not apply to the AP Exam, since you don’t know any of the prompts until the day of). This tip also may seem too obvious to miss, but when the time comes where your class is reading a book you are just not interested in, or the essay falls around the same time as your other priorities, it becomes very easy to get lazy with the annotations and notes, or even put aside the reading altogether. The best way to make this tip work is to, again, stay on top of the reading game. Regularly reading the assigned work and taking the time to make annotations and notes will save you so much time and stress when actually writing the essay. Instead of spending the time racking your brain for quotes or flipping through your novel’s pages, you’ll be spending that time to actually write!

Preparing for the Big Exam

The best way to prepare for the AP Exam is probably the simplest and the hardest - do well in the class. Reading that sentence will probably make you want to punch your computer screen, because yes - it is that obvious and that simple. When preparing for any big exam, your best bet of doing well on it is if you practice the work and material of the subject consistently. Like most of the other AP courses, AP Lang’s job throughout the entire school year is preparing you for the exam. From the beginning until the end of the course, you will be given given practice essay prompts, articles to help with synthesis, and worksheets where you have to identify the certain literary technique being used. I managed to pull through and end that year of AP Lang with a borderline A- in the gradebook, and a 4 on the AP exam (I know it’s not a 5, but hey, college credit!). If you take the actual class seriously and try your best, then there is a guarantee you will get a passing score or higher on the exam. Trust.

Final Tips

Here is a recollection of my final thoughts and tips as I look back at my year of taking AP Lang:

Be specific and detail-oriented. This goes for the broader spectrum and applies to everything in the course and on the exam. From writing essays, to analyzing documents, even to just doing some practice handouts, the more specific you try conveying yourself and your thoughts, the better. The course is all about analyzing and showing your understanding of the reading or prompt, so if you could refine it to the smallest piece of your point (with the least bit of ambiguity), then you’re golden. Everything is open for interpretation, but the score and grade is based on how well you can communicate your point.

Lastly, put in the effort. This applies to everything as well, even the pieces of paper you think are busy work. In this course, everything is given to you for a reason. The effort you put into your work will reflect on the red letters on the first page of your papers, or that final score in July. AP Lang is a course where you can apply “you are what you eat”, or more accurately, you are what you read.



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.




MBTI Type: What it is and How It Can Impact You in High School and College


Do you ever wonder why you think differently than others? Or why you make decisions based on your feelings rather than logic? Or why some people see a different meaning in certain concepts than you do? Well you no longer have to question these things. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality type test that provides you with information about the different ways that you think and how these different aspects can affect your actions and decision-making. puz.jpg

All you have to do is take a quick personality test on the 16 Personalities website (16personalities.com), and you’ll receive a personality type that consists of 4 letters (for example, ENFP), with each letter representing a certain trait that you have based on the answers that you provided. You’ll be surprised to see how accurately the results describe you! Just make sure that you are as honest as possible in your answers. Knowing the kind of thinker you are can definitely benefit you in your academic experience and will allow you to have a better understanding of your own learning abilities as the learning abilities of others.

The Four Letters: What do They Mean?

Introversion (I) v. Extroversion (E)

The first of the four letters will either be an “I”, representing introversion, or an “E”, representing extroversion. This trait tells you the kind of environment that you are more comfortable to be in. If you are an introvert, you prefer to spend time alone and are often under stress in social situations. You spend lots of time thinking deeply about things that don’t regard your surroundings, and find peace in being alone with your thoughts. Being an introvert is beneficial because it allows you to work independently and rely on solely yourself, however it may hinder your ability to communicate with others effectively. If you are an extrovert, you prefer to spend time with large groups of people and dislike being alone. You focus most of your attention on the “outside world” and your surroundings, and rarely spend time going into deep thought. It is easier for you to communicate and socialize easily, but you often have difficulties being independent.


Intuition (N) v. Sensing (S)

The next letter in your personality type is either “N”, meaning intuition, or “S”, meaning sensing. This determines the way that you perceive and react to information. If you are an intuitive thinker, you tend to take information that is provided to you and find a deeper meaning in it. You look beyond what is physically presented, and are drawn toward abstract ideas and metaphors as opposed to real experiences and facts. You are open to new possibilities and focus more on the future and the outcome of things rather than the present. This trait is helpful in situations that require creativity. If you think through your senses, you prefer to focus on the literal aspect of things. When given information, you work with what you have instead of looking for multiple meanings in it; you want to understand the factual aspects of things. You want to get to the direct point of things instead of analyzing them in more depth. You trust facts and reality more than you trust ideas and possibilities. Perceiving information with your senses is often beneficial when you need to make critical decisions regarding professional matters.

Thinking (T) v. Feeling (F)

This third letter reveals how you make decisions. If you make decisions based on thinking, you tend to analyze situations based on the pros and cons, and try to make the most logical decision with what you are provided. You focus on the elements of the situation itself rather than any personal opinions, including your own. Similar to the P trait, this trait is very helpful in making decisions that require logic and rational thinking, but it may cause conflict in sensitive situations where it is critical to understand the people that are involved. In contrast, if you make decisions based on feeling, you deeply consider the people that are involved in the situation and tend to make decisions in their favor, or in your own favor. You don’t think too much about the rational aspects of a situation; you make decisions based on your beliefs and what you feel is right. The feelings of yourself and of others are a priority over what is logically correct. This is beneficial when addressing sensitive situation, but when making decisions that require logic, personal feelings might get in the way.

Judging (J) v. Perceiving (P)

The last letter represents your behavior and the lifestyle you choose to live. If you are extremely organized in all your decisions and have a need to plan things out before they happen, then you have a judging preference. This means that you are very task-oriented and prefer to do things ahead of time. This can help you in managing your priorities and getting work done when it needs to be. If you prefer to “go with the flow” of things, and dislike making definite plans, you have a perceiving preference. You like to live freely and allow experiences to happen without knowing they will ahead of time, and you do what you can with what comes to you. This trait allows you to adapt to a variety of different situations and handle them efficiently.

How You Can Apply This to Your Academic Career

With all of this information, you now have a clearer understanding of the type of person you are and why you have the different tendencies and habits that you have. Now that you understand your strengths and weaknesses better, you can use the traits that you have to your own advantage in the academic environment. The 16 Personalities website provides you with a more detailed description of each personality type as well as each individual personality trait. They even provide you with useful information about what your personality type is capable of by listing possible career paths that you would excel in based on your traits. You can look through these careers and see if any of them interest you. If they do, try to find activities or extra curriculars that are similar to those listed and see whether you can truly excel in these subjects or not. Having a better understanding of your own mind is definitely beneficial to your learning experience and career path.

Not only will the 16 personalities website inform you about your own character traits, it can also help you to understand the traits of others and why they act or think the ways that they do. Understanding the way others think can be advantageous in high school and college, especially in the learning environment. It can allow you to clearly see and comprehend opposing sides of an argument, and it can allow you to make unbiased judgements. It can also help you to understand people on a more personal level. For example, this can help you understand your roommate a lot better.

Overall, understanding your own skills, traits, and weaknesses can help you in numerous ways.

Link to website: https://www.16personalities.com/ 






How To Feel Your Best When You're Not At Your Best: Tips for Deadling with Stress and Discontent


Growing up, my favorite activities were simple: dessert eating, computer game playing, and Disney World exploring. While meeting characters like Mickey and Minnie or gazing at firework shows that lit up the sky like the Las Vegas strip are just two of the multitude of things Disney is known for, my favorite parts were the rides (the bigger the better). I always closed my eyes on rollercoaster's, not because of fear, but because of the surprise element. Any second I could dip down to what appeared like hundreds of feet based off of my poor six-year-old judgment, and turn in four different directions in a matter of seconds. When the ride was over, I would beg my dad, my ride buddy, to wait in the block long line again with me. Ah, the memories. As I go through college admissions now, I realize life is a lot like roller coasters, only now I like to keep my eyes open. If the "good" parts of my life are the straight, smooth parts of the ride, then we I want to know exactly where the jerks and sharp turns are, so we can plan and adjust our lives accordingly. Unfortunately, no matter how many pairs of glasses we wear in hopes of identifying the twists and turns of life, we soon realize that even one pair is useless. Even after we get desperate and attempt to cup our hands in hope that The Force can help control our futures, we still find these outcomes surprising.

Not being able to identify these setbacks (or more, figure out how to solve them quickly), is where we begin to develop stress. We may dedicate tons of time and effort into our studies, sports, and instruments, and not be satisfied as to how our hard work is displayed to others if that's in a GPA, awards, or rankings.

I experienced struggles through both my academics and extracurricular activities the past school year. I found myself putting in quality work into my math classes (I took both Honors Geometry and Honors Algebra 2), my soccer, and my violin, only to get average results. There were multiple nights where I looked like Tom (pictured below), sitting on the floor of my bedroom at eleven o'clock at night, frustrated by the plethora of tests I had the next day and the little my Red Bull's were going to do to help me do well on them.

I always took the l(oss) after these nights.

There's a rainbow with every storm, however, and I found myself throughout the trimester using fewer and fewer tissues. Not necessarily because it got better, but because I learned how to cope, move on, and hope my next opportunity ends up better.

Even after hours of doing precalc problems and weekends filled with baseball games, we have little control as to how our hard work gets displayed, or if it pays off. However, we do have control as to how we react, learn, and reflect from the hardships that come with the rollercoaster of life. Use the following four tips will be able to help you stay sane and move on (sooner or later) to your next project of greatness.


Twenty minutes of relaxed reading in bed with freshly moisturized skin after a hot shower will not only relieve your stress but make your studying more focused as it clears your mind. Your worries become less about your precalc homework and more about if Gryffindor will win the quidditch match, if Thomas is going to survive the maze, if your dream couple is going to advance to the next base. But besides the distraction factor, there are also many health benefits to reading, one being boosting your brain power. There are wins all around from reading, my friends.

If reading isn’t your thing (yet), I recommend checking out Barnes and Noble’s or New York Times’ Bestseller Book Lists. Not only are they lists updated weekly at the minimum, they also provide summaries of all the books, keeping your search quick and convenient. Most of my reads come from one of these two lists, and the reviews from all my books read recently have been 13/10 would recommend.

Don’t Hype It Up in Your Mind

Going into AP exam season or your school musical’s opening week babbling with your peers about how stressful your week is isn’t going to bring Fairy God Mother's at you shoulder to get you through it. Oftentimes, we will spend more time complaining about the little time we have than trying to make the little time we have count, creating more problems for ourselves. In this time, you could be making flashcards for your US History exam, or write in fingerings for flute solo, anything that will lead to progress.

Sometimes, talking about stress, or believing you are stressed when your not, makes your physical stress symptoms even worse than they actually are. This sort of idea is discussed by Kelly McGonigal in her TedTalk “How to make stress your friend”, which is one of the favorites of the dozens I’ve watched. You can check the talk out here: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=e


Watch an episode of Drake and Josh (or other childhood shows)

The sight of youthfulness develops a grin on one’s face that’s brighter than the southern Florida sun.

Even if you claim to hate kids, you have to admit that listening to a four and five-year-old attempt to explain something to you, like their family life or a list of their favorite things is cute and captivating. They think they know so much, but in reality, know so little.

What makes watching childhood TV shows a great mechanism in battling is stress has a lot of benefits. There will be laughs, giggles, or small grins guaranteed, as you will begin to realize the numerous amounts of jokes that are AUO (“adult” understandable only) in addition to the exaggeration and ridiculousness of some of the plots. But because you’ve already seen most, if not all of the episodes at one point or another, you won’t binge watch an entire season of it the night before a big exam like some do with Grey’s Anatomy.

If TV watching wasn’t a big portion of your childhood, my show recommendations to start with would include Drake and Josh, iCarly, Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Spongebob Squarepants, and That’s So Raven. With one to two episodes a night, you should be able to get through a semester or two without a problem.



Recently, I started volunteering at a food pantry about three miles from my house. The pantry was set up like a little store, with shelves organized by their food types. My job was essentially grocery shopping for someone else. I took the clients through the pantry with a pre-approved list of items that they could get based off of their income and family size. “A simple and easy task to understand” a twelve-year long volunteer had told me. And simple it was.

Despite the simplicity of the task at hand, I soon enough found myself scheduling around the food bank’s schedule to go back again. Knowing that I helped a teenager concentrate on her homework instead of hunger, a little girl play more than complain, a mom work instead of search for food, left me feeling extremely fulfilled with a beaming smile to match.

A common reaction to heavy stress and frustration is crying. We cry, and cry, and cry when things that really mattered to us didn’t go our way. Volunteering changed that for me. Even after a tough day or week at school, helping at the food bank clouded those thoughts out of my mind. I found myself happy with myself despite all the mess-ups in my test scores or my performance in soccer, I did something correct.

So rather than finding a random one time opportunity that will give you community service to fulfill your National Honors Society requirement, go somewhere where the people really need it. Where families would starve without you, where elementary school students wouldn’t be able to do their homework without you, anything that makes you feel fulfilled when it’s over. Feeling that you did something great after multiple failures is the push you need to get through the stressful times sane.

The best rollercoaster’s in the world are the ones with dips, twists, and turns; some gradual, some fast, some sharp and unexpected. While some may still be on the uphill through college, others of us are in the busy section of the ride early on, with a sharp turn or big drop discouraging us from our goals and eating away our motivation.

But even if one mess up feels like the end of the world now, remember that you were born with so much strength and ability and that ability doesn’t have to be reflected in a piece of paper or a number. You are capable of so, so much. Keep grinding at what you do, but once a big test week is over or softball tryouts are finished, do something that brings you genuine joy, laughter, and happiness. You’ll get through it, and in the end, end up somewhere fantastic. I double pinky promise with a cherry on top.






Seven Ways to Improve Your ACT Writing Score


During my junior year of high school, I decided to dedicate my time to being a peer editor. My free periods consisted of revising papers, from youthful, optimistic 6th graders to second-semester seniors that were definitely sliding. One question that I was constantly asked across the board was: “How do I become a better writer?” The number of times this question was asked multiplied when the ACT scores came back and I did well on it. My usual response, even after the ACT,  was some sort of “I’m not sure it just comes naturally to me” or “Just a lot of hard work.” Those answers are slightly true, but not the whole truth. Becoming a better writer, in general, does take time and effort, but these tips below will help your writing process, and definitely your ACT writing score.

  • Read Your Own Work

This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but this is one of the most common mistakes I see in writing. I guarantee that there will be many mistakes: whether it will be spelling errors, punctuation oversight; or even just a sentence that made perfect sense in your head, but is confusing on paper. I understand that it can be very cringe-worthy to read through your work, but I promise it will improve your paper significantly.

  • Practice! Practice! Practice!

This is probably one of the easiest steps for the ACT audience, a.k.a. high schoolers. We are constantly writing for our English courses, and it is very clear that we improve over the years. If you cannot see a change in your writing from assigned papers, search for more prompts and write sample essays. Take about an hour each week, and write a paper with different types of prompts. Not only will this help your writing, but this will help your pacing skills, making you even more prepared for your test.

  • Don’t Make The Same Mistakes

   Not only is this a great life lesson, it is a fantastic writing skill. Think of all of the essays you have gotten back from teachers, what are your most common mistakes? For some people, it may be run-on sentences, comma splices, or general flow of words. Whatever you do, make an effort to change your habits, and don’t hold yourself back by not changing.


  • Dilate Your Vocabulary

It is so important to stand out and use more than average words. Try taking everyday words like ‘good’ and replace it with ‘reputable.’ Try to eliminate casual words like ‘cool’ and the repetition of ‘like.’ I would suggest trying to incorporate a SAT/ACT word into your day (like Cher did in Clueless with ‘sporadically’) This will enhance your vocabulary and make all English assignments easier.

  • Go In With A Plan

Remember those brainstorming tools teachers would give you in elementary school to help organize your ideas when writing an essay? If not, here’s a nostalgic reminder:

This may seem like a childish idea, but it really does help with making sure you have a properly formatted essay with strong points. The ACT gives one prompt with 3 opinions and asks which one you side with. When I took the ACT, I was conflicted in choosing which opinion I delineated with the most; however it was clear when I was able to produce 3 strong points about one and became stumped with the other. If you do this step, I promise that your essay will be 10x easier to write, because it will basically be plugging in ideas and elaborating.  


  • Use All of Your Allotted Time!!!

I cannot express how anxious I feel when I see fellow test takers finish essays in 20 minutes. There is no way to do all of the steps above in that short amount of time!! Even if you are not doing anything to your essay, you might think of a new idea, or correct an old idea written down. This will also help pacing issues if you have them. This was all of your ideas will have the time to develop and come out during the test, instead of later.

  • Have Fun!

Lastly, be creative! Writing is a beautiful way to express yourself and your opinions. This is the only creative outlet on standardized tests, and it should be utilized. Try not to stress too much about writing an essay, but still take it seriously. If you follow these steps and have some confidence, writing an ACT essay should be a breeze. 






How to Balance School and College Applications


If you are like any high school senior or junior, the demands from inside and outside of the classroom combined with the pressures of getting into college can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Seniors often feel that they have no way of balancing difficult academics, extracurricular, and college applications. Students should always try to start their applications in the summer in order to alleviate some of the work that comes in the fall. With essays, homework, exams, and extracurricular activities, it’s all about a balancing act in order to make the deadlines, This article will help you with how to balance because if you don’t balance, you’ll find that you may have missed something important in the end.

1. Get Organized

Getting organized is always the first step in finding balance. We have plenty of tools that can help you get organized. Start as simple as buying a planner from any office store or getting apps such as SoCal, Cal, Weekly Planner, etc;  in that has some sort of calendar to log all school assignments, application deadlines, and any important meetings or college interviews. Taking your time to organize your schedule and writing down everything you need to do will help you see what needs to get done. This schedule will allow you to get tasks done little by little. If you manage to all get papers, applications, and other assignments done before deadlines, you will be less stressed at the end the day.

2. Prioritize

When everything seems to be important, prioritizing assignments can often seem difficult. However, some assignments are more important than others. Learning to prioritize certain assignments and choosing what is most important will allow for students to not only alleviate stress but get you in bed before midnight. If you have an essay due in a week, this should have higher precedence over finishing some projects or applications that due in another month or two. Not only will you keep your grades up but you be able to work proficiently throughout the school year

3. Fight Senioritis

Don’t catch senioritis. Seniors fall victim as early as September of their senior year but when the second semester comes around, students get caught in a whirlpool. Senioritis will hurt your college admissions when you have to send in your final transcript. Students often make the mistake of waiting last minute to start on assignments and even college applications. Putting off these assignments will stress you out because these deadlines do come sooner than you think. Start your year off strong and stay motivated by keeping up with your deadlines and making sure that you do step back and take a breath.  Senior year is difficult and busy so make sure you have some fun.

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



12 Ways to Distract Yourself While Waiting for College Decisions


After consulting teachers for recommendations, filing the FAFSA, researching college admissions procedural advice, and refining your Common App or college-specific application, all that is left to do is wait.  The reality is that the result has moved beyond your control and in the hands of the admissions decisions committee, and the weeks-long waiting period can the hardest part of it all.

Given the fact that I am currently going through the college admissions process myself, I have compiled a short list of mindful things that I do, and affirmations that I keep, to ease my nerves during the selection process.  Hopefully, you will see these motivations personally fit upon awaiting your admissions decisions.

12 Ways to Keep Yourself Busy While Waiting for College Decisions

  1. Remind yourself that it is not the end of the world.
    • Often, we may find ourselves overwhelmed with the over exaggerated notion of failure if we are not admitted into a specific university of choice. However, the label of a university cannot affirm nor defer your innermost worth.
  2. Handwrite a list of positive affirmations and post them around your room.
    • I prefer to reaffirm myself of positive characteristics, as I believe it digs deeper than, and ultimately influences, compliments about physicality.
  3. Create something, whether it be a painting, a journal entry, or a music mix.
  4. Bake yourself a batch of cookies.
  5. Remind yourself that everything happens for a reason.
    • No matter the outcome of the situation, it is important to remember that you are not always given the results that you want, but rather, the ones that you need.
  6. Give yourself a spa treatment.
    • Physical self-care is just as important as spiritual self-care. Spa care can range anywhere from taking a bath to painting your nails.
  7. Build a play fortress. Gather flashlights and read under it.
    • There is something pleasurably nostalgic about emulating a favorite activity from your childhood.
  8. Take a spontaneous walk with no destination.
    • In a situation as demanding as college admissions, it is necessary to do something for yourself that does not involve intricate planning.
  9. Talk with a friend or relative that you haven’t spoken to for a while.
    • Whether you ask the person specifically for advice pertaining to college admissions, or you’re catching up on life’s adventures, you will gain a new perspective from someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
  10. Have a solo dance party to your favorite music playlist.
    • This is the best release after finishing a college supplemental essay.
  11. Dress elaborately for the sake of dressing elaborately.
    • I truly believe in gained self-confidence through the expression of outerwear. If you enjoy doing your makeup, I would suggest doing your makeup fancily for a day, it is simply another esteem-boosting tactic.
  12. Watch something on Netflix that you wouldn’t normally.
    • I find independent and international films to be particularly intriguing; you can gain new insight and it feels as though you traveled to a completely foreign place, all while sitting in your room.
    • There are great instructional meditation videos available online for first-time meditators. My personal favorite instructor is Jazz of Life By Jazz.  I would also recommend reaching out to your local meditation classes or camps if you prefer meditating in a group setting.


All in all, keep busy.  Your life does not end the moment that you apply for colleges and restart when you attend it, so you should value every allot of time during this process towards self-improvement and productivity.  The college admissions process is an exciting, unparalleled once-in-a-lifetime event.  There is no need to worry, you will end up right where you need to be.




How I Balance My Athletics with the Demands of High School


I still remember the feeling I has after my first gymnastics class. It was a feeling like no other. I felt a hunger to keep doing gymnastics, and that is exactly what I did, even when I entered high school. It was very apparent freshmen year that my high school experience was going to be a bit different than the typical high school experience. My schedule is something I get asked about frequently by friends. When I get ready in the morning, I have to make time out of my morning routine to stretch and loosen my muscles from the night before. Throughout my day, I’ve learned to do any homework that is due soon to knock it out of the way, so I could possibly go to bed earlier (which never happens). On my bus ride home, I usually take that time to take a nap and rest up before I head to the busiest part of my day. As soon as I get home, I do an in-depth stretch and eat for an hour and then head off to practice. Although practice ends at 9:00 p.m., I am not home until 9:30 p.m. and rush into my homework. I finish any assignments that I didn’t finish throughout the day and start studying for tests.


For any athlete, especially someone doing a sport outside of school, balancing school work, grades, and your sport can be difficult. I know my teammates have their ways of balancing it, but my way, involves A LOT of scheduling (emphasis on “a lot”). For, any athlete doing a sport outside of school, I advise the best thing to do is either get a physical planner or either download one on the app store (I use “myHomework” to schedule my days as well as assignments) I usually start my Mondays off by planning out when I can get assignments done—maybe I can do this one during class, or this one during lunch, and maybe this assignment on my day off. Taking three AP classes doesn’t help, either. My second tip to anyone ding a sport outside of school is to make sure your week is planned. Most assignments are given at the beginning of the week so start with writing everything down, and as the week progresses, add any new assignments given. I always have to make sure I am studying and getting the materials. I always use any of my free time during school to study or do quick assignments. I even carry around my AP Biology textbook throughout the school day and pictures of pages from another textbook I may or may not need to either study or do any homework. This has to be my most important tip, for any athlete out there, use your time wisely. We are always so busy during the day at school, so at the end of the day, after a long hard day at practice, the last thing you want to do is homework. Try to get as much done throughout the day because you never know your mood after practice (coming from experience *points to self*) A lot of people tell me that I try way too hard, but I feel like if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be top of my class. I want to be top of my class so I can get into a great college. This sport relaxes me and makes me want to work hard, but at the end of the day, school should ALWAYS come first, no matter what sport you’re in.


On top of school work, I also have to manage my progress in gymnastics. Unlike other sports, when practice ends, I still have to be working on my body. After homework is done at night, I have to work on my abs for 30 minutes and then I stretch again for 15 minutes and roll out my muscles to relax my muscles to prevent any soreness the next day. Right before I go to bed I treat any rips I may have gotten from bars and ice down my muscles if need be. Gymnastics is just one of those sports where you have to keep working on your body and strength to improve your performances. On my days off and on the rare holidays we get (Gymnastics is a year round sport which only closes due to major holidays and extreme weather), I am still at home working on my form and conditioning my body. I do this so that even on my day off, my body doesn’t slack off with me. An important part of doing any sport out of school is making sure you are improving, and the hard part is making time to do so, this is where scheduling comes in handy, but for me it’s more of a routine kind of thing, something that has to get done at a certain time each day.

With all the hard work that goes into doing gymnastics, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. This is just the price I pay for doing something I love. Everyone should be able to do the things they love and still do well in school and life, don’t sacrifice one for another, have the whole dang pie. Ever since that first day in my beginner’s class, I have been hooked and can’t wait till I go to practice or get the opportunity to show off my skills. Gymnastics has taught me so much. There have been times when a skill seemed impossible to get, and it would take months to get, but eventually I would get it. It’s taught me to never give up and to work hard. Skills don’t come by themselves. You have put in the time and effort and get up every time you’ve fallen. If you’ve ever met a gymnast in your life, then you will truly see the passion to work hard gymnastics has given them. And to all my gymnasts out there, “Pointed feet, Pointed feet, Point them hard and win the meet” (sorry I had to make at least one reference to “Stick It” :).



What You Should Be Doing Each Year in High School to Have a Successful College Admissions Experience


Growing up, I used to watch a lot of TV. Even though the heat didn’t work in my basement and the room gave me shivers that went to the balls of my feet, a show or two was always on my daily agenda. With age, the shows I was interested in shifted from wanting to watch the PBS Kids nightly specials to recording every Disney Channel and Nickelodeon original movie that was ever mentioned on a commercial. I was one of those that can still sing both the Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2 soundtracks by heart. Still can, actually, and still with no shame. With my introduction to Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows, my different visions of the high school life became brightened like Christmas lights, and I was becoming more than excited to go. While I knew I would never be acting at (the fake) Hollywood Arts High School or living on a Cruise Ship, I wanted to know how I could make my years of high school as productive and entertaining as possible within a more traditional high school experience.

Because of the lack of older siblings or other family to help give me advice, I turned to YouTube. At the time, I had already learned a lot through the site, like that cats can do absolutely anything and oranges are extremely annoying when they talk. However, when I tried to do research on how my four years had to go in order to have a competitive college application, I was only able to salvage a few genuine responses, as 95% of the knowledge I gained from the videos were identical advice regurgitated with different wording, advice as common and bland as a saltine cracker. With the help of some exceptions, including YouTubers (Katherout, Annemarie Chase, and Joi Wade), I was inspired to try some things for myself, and found what worked and when I needed to start things.  I worked for you to avoid the mistakes that I’ve made during high school, and a good timeline to follow to prepare yourself for the college admissions process.

Freshman year


Academically, freshman year of high school is an adjustment period. Some people, like myself, find the adjustment easy, and others find it more difficult. However, it is a year that goes on your transcript so it’s important to start the year focused and stay focused throughout the year.

Extracurricular Activities:

Get overly involved in activities. If you have any slight interest, sign up to get alerts and go to the first couple of meetings. It’s easier to join some activities then quit them after freshman year, if you don’t like them, than to try to join clubs, sports, etc. as an upperclassman.


This should be an area you are least concerned with. Because most of you won’t have the math skills or have built up the English language skills that are crucial to the ACT/SAT. Don’t do more than the practice tests your school may require you to take.


  1. One of the best ways of getting through the stresses of high school and the college admission process is having friends or a community that will support you through both your successes and failures. Freshman year is a great time to establish your “crew” that will be there for you. While these people may not stay with you throughout your entire high school journey, at least having a past connection is a great support mechanism to make the high school experience both fun and rewarding.
  2. Set both short and long-term goals for yourself academically, within your extra-curricular activities and socially. These goals can range from making the varsity lacrosse team, to getting a 3.8 unweighted GPA, to getting into your state school. Writing these goals down and keeping them somewhere where you’ll read them often can help you maintain your focus throughout the school year.

Sophomore Year


Keep grinding. Stay focused. If you slipped into bad habits freshman year or were not happy with your academic performance, don’t dwell on those mistakes. Use them as motivation and a learning experience for this year and going forward.


By the summer, talk to your parents/guardians and determine how you’ll be preparing for your standardized tests (the ACT/SAT), whether that’s with prep courses, private tutors, or self-studying, in order to get ahead of your peers. If you think prep courses or private tutoring are paths you’ll need to go on, it may be a good thing to pursue during the summer as you have more free time to do the practice.

Extracurricular Activities:

By sophomore year, continue to search for the extracurricular activities you really enjoy. There is no shame in quitting or joining activities this year. If you want to have the possibility to gain leadership in one of these activities, make sure to attend as many of the events/practices/meetings for the activity, in order to show dedication to the advisor or coach.


If you’re interested in doing some more unique things during college, like playing a sport, joining an ROTC program (which you can read about here http://www.goarmy.com/rotc.html) or studying the performing arts, talk to your guidance counselor and see what sort of preparations you’ll have to do before-hand. The last thing you want is to find out when you’re applying that these programs aren’t available to you because you waited too long.

Junior Year  

Junior year is the year you’ve got to get your head in the game. This is the most looked at year by admissions committees on a college application, so you need to.

If this year is getting too stressful, make short-term goals. Sometimes it’s easier to look at getting through a stressful week than a well-known stressful week.


  1. For those of you who decide to apply to colleges at the early deadlines in November, the end of this year is the last impression colleges will have of you when you apply, so you need to push yourself academically. Try to do the absolute best that you can academically.
  2. Since you most likely got all of your graduation requirements done with, this is a year to establish a schedule in areas of interest. For example, if you want to be pre-med, it would be beneficial to double up on science classes, to show your dedication to your major to your colleges of choice.


Try to get all of your testing out of the way as early into junior year as possible. Start doing prep and taking actual exams by December to give an adequate amount of time to improve your score. If you believe you are going to be applying to a college that requires or recommends SAT subject tests, make sure to plan for those as well.

Extracurricular Activities:

  1. If by this point you have found a few activities that you really enjoy, try to dedicate a bunch of time to them. If you love playing the trumpet, you can play in a myriad of bands, mentor beginner trumpet players, and go to intensives in the summer to help you improve your craft. This sort of strategy allows you not only for tremendous improvement in what you do, but shows colleges your dedication to the activities you involve yourself with.
  2. Look into possibly pursuing leadership in the things that you’ve been involved in. No matter how much you doubt yourself about getting a leadership position, just do it. While one of your volleyball teammates with an ego bigger than the Pacific thought they were guaranteed being captain BS’ their speech and is basically not going to be considered, you’ll wish that you had written a speech yourself.


  1. If affordable, try to visit some of the colleges that you are interested in. If the visit list is still limited, maybe take a week and go to a couple of concentrated areas with lots of colleges, such as Boston or LA, because there are a variety of different colleges that you can visit in order to get a feel for the type of environment that you would like in a particular college.
  2. Stay sane and socialize. Go to a couple of football games. Go to Homecoming, prom, girls ask guys dance. Go to a party, even if you have a lot of homework due on Monday. It will keep your mind clear and sane. You’d be surprised by how much screaming the lyrics of your favorite song can take you out of the stresses of the world and into a happy place.

Senior Year


  1. If you end up applying to any regular decision deadlines, you will have one-two marking period grades that will be sent to colleges. Just like junior year, it’s another time to impress colleges and show another strong academic record.
  2. Remember that even after a college accepts you, they can take back their acceptance if your academic performance is not where they would like it to be, so try to stay focused enough where you can achieve grades of a level that is near your highest performance in high school.


If your standardized testing is not already completed, work on getting it completed in the September and October dates.

Extracurricular Activities:

Enjoy being on your sports teams, orchestras, and unique clubs while you can. If you aren’t interested in pursuing these at a collegiate level, this year will be the last that you’ll be able to experience them. Make that last year count.


  1. Make sure to dedicate time nightly for your college applications. You don’t want to fall behind on these and not have them at the quality that you like.
  2. Visit the colleges that you got accepted to if possible, to help make your final decision of where you’ll be attending college easier.
  3. Have fun! Treat yourself for the hard work put in you put in the past 3 ½ years.



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

Tips for Picking High School Electives


It's that time of year again. Just as high school students have become completely settled into the new school year, the time comes to choose their electives for the next school year. While picking electives in itself isn't exactly the hardest thing in the world, it's picking the right ones that requires a bit of forethought. Here are some tips to help you make these choices.

Know Your Requirements

Before you decide on any electives, make sure you have all your required classes accounted for. If you failed a course in the past, plan to graduate early, or just live in a school district that requires a semester of art you have yet to take, brushing up on your school's requirements could save you from some serious stress senior year. Whether you want to turn up the heat a little or just relax for your last year of high school, it's better not to have an unfulfilled requirement hanging over your head before you head off to college. In addition, think about what classes you may want to take in the future as well; if your school offers an interesting class that you have to be a junior or senior to take, check if you need to take a prerequisite course first.

Identify Your Likes...and Dislikes

If you already know what school you want to go to and what you want to study there that's great; you can pick electives related to that field. If you're like me, however, and are a bit more indecisive, it might help to simply know what you like--and what you don't. It's often easier to identify ourselves by what we like than what we are, and knowing what you dislike is just as important as what you like. Your school may have dozens of options for electives, but many can easily be weeded about by saying "I hate math" or "I really don't like history." Now, obviously you are not going to choose an elective in a subject you hate; if you are unsure of your feelings, however, selecting a certain elective can feel like a leap of faith, which is where an outside opinion can become essential.


Talk to Upperclassmen

High schoolers love to complain about school. You can deny it all you want, but there's always one class that gives too much homework or is taught by a teacher that could put coffee drinking six-year-olds to sleep, and for every one of those classes, there are a plethora of students willing and eager to talk about it. If you're on the fence about taking a class, ask around for kids who have taken it or have had another class with the teacher. At the least, you'll probably get an "I heard they give a lot of group projects," or "the tests are really easy," and if you're lucky, you may get a five minute rant with the input of three passing strangers (yes, I speak from experience).

Know Your Limits

If you're taking four AP classes, on the swim team, belong to the drama club, and have a part time job, taking a study hall might beneficial to your mental health. Before choosing any electives, consider the other courses you're taking and whether you'll be able to handle another class. Staying sharp in your classes is just as important as choosing them, and as invincible as you think you are at times, we all have limitations. I have friends taking the same classes as me but without a study hall they often stay up until 2am to finish all their homework because they also have jobs and extra-curricular activities until late at night. On the other hand, there are some people I know with even heavier class loads than I without a study hall that are doing just fine, it all depends on the person. Take some time to self reflect and figure out what's best for you.


Utilize Your Guidance Counselors

More often than not, the most helpful resource for choosing electives is the one your school provides you. Guidance counselors are your best friends when it comes to the subject; they already know what courses your school requires and often can give great advice about a plan not only for the next school year but for the rest of high school and beyond. While seeking out your counselor may seem annoying or intimidating at first, they're usually your best bet when it comes anything regarding you and high school; it's kind of their job.



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.