Posts Tagged ‘college admissions’

College Admission Requirements: College Admissions Scattergrams from Cappex

If you’re applying to college or plan to apply to college in the near future, I’m sure you’ve started wondering what it takes to get into your top choice school. Whether you’re applying to South University in Richmond or an Ivy League school, knowing the acceptance rate is important. It can determine the number and type of school to apply to. While the college admissions environment changes from year to year, depending on the scope and aptitude of the applicant pool, past admissions data does help to determine where you stand in terms of your GPA and SAT/ACT scores and gaining admission to a particular university.

To help you establish whether your GPA and standardized test scores are up to par for admission to your dream college, has come up with a cool and useful tool (more…)


College Admissions: The Pressures of College Entrance Exams

In an increasingly competitive college admissions environment, college applicants are feeling the pressure. With more students than ever applying to college and competing for a limited number of spots at universities, it’s not surprising that college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT cause a good amount of stress. But it’s important to keep in mind that YOU’RE MORE THAN A TEST SCORE!

While there’s no use denying that SAT and ACT scores are an important piece of your application and student profile–they’re not everything.  Four years of hard work and good grades (hopefully) in high school  are not erased with one standardized test score.

That being said, the SAT and ACT are tests that can be mastered through hard work and time commitment. (more…)


College Admissions Tips: Should You Know What Your Major Will Be Entering College?

going to major in...

Apart from choosing which college to attend, choosing what field of study to major in could very well be your next biggest decision involving your college education. Some students enter college having clear career ambitions and knowing exactly what it is they want to study. Certain colleges have separate “schools” or programs with a particular academic focus—sometimes even with different admissions standards—that may require that students declare a major as a freshman.  But if you’re neither entering one of these specifically-focused schools nor certain about what you would like to study, and it’s time to accept your choice college’s admissions offer—don’t stress out.   

Many students begin college with little or no idea of what they will ultimately choose as a major, so if you’re checking off the “undecided” box, you’re not alone.  There is no rush for you to jump to a decision about your major as soon as you step foot on campus. Most colleges won’t even require you to declare a major until at some point into your sophomore year, or even at the start of your junior year. Using your time in the college classroom wisely can, without a doubt, help ensure that you go into the right field of study.  After all, part of what is wonderful about college on an academic level,  is that your required core classes will help you to get a feel for what you enjoy learning about; you may even discover a previously unrealized passion for a subject that you didn’t have the opportunity to study in high school.  And hopefully this penchant or passion for a particular academic subject can help you to decide what career path or continued educational trajectory you would like to pursue. Because a college major should be chosen based on your interests and career goals.

So when deciding on a major, here are a few questions to keep in mind:

  • What are my interests (academic and otherwise)?  What about my talents and natural abilities? You’re going to be taking lots of classes in your major, so you’re far better off choosing a program that interests you! If you choose a major you don’t enjoy, it’s going to be a LONG four years!
  • What kind of career am I interested in? If you’re not sure—look into it a bit. Check out your campus career center, they can offer you some guidance when it comes to career planning and then help direct you toward an appropriate major.
  • What kinds of majors are available and are strong programs at your particular college? There are probably majors available at your college that you didn’t know were options or you know very little about. Familiarize yourself with all the possibilities of what you have the opportunity to study!
  • Are there resources available to offer some guidance?  In addition to the career center, take advantage of what’s around you. Talk to professors, academic advisors and other students; consult your school’s course catalog or a college major guide (there’s probably one in the academic advising office)

Put some serious consideration into what you decide to study during what are bound to be the most important years of your education.  Not only will choosing the right major make your academic experience in college worthwhile, it could allow for valuable internship opportunities and ultimately open doors when it comes to your career and your future.


College Essay Tips: Make the Most of Your Summer!

Sure this doesn't look so fun...BUT it will pay off!

The summer provides a good opportunity for students to get a head start on their college applications and essays. Some colleges have already begun posting applications for the 2010-2011 application season, and many more will do so as the summer goes on. Our friends at College Essay Organizer (CEO) are constantly updating their extensive database of college essay requirements, so that students can get started with their essays as soon as possible. Here’s why starting applications over the summer is the way to go:

  • The college essay is generally thought to be the most time-consuming and overwhelming aspect of college applications. Get it over with!
  • Writing an essay is a multi-step process—a really good essay is typically brainstormed, outlined, drafted, edited, proofread, and finalized. Working on it gradually over the summer gives you time to really work through all these stages. 
  • When school, homework, and after-school activities start up again, and it comes time to apply to your colleges, you’ll be WAY more carefree having already completed the most dreaded part of applications.

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Getting started on essays and applications early will make the college application season far less overwhelming.

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More importantly, the essay is a significant component of any application, giving admissions officers an opportunity to look beyond the numbers and allowing students to put a personal stamp on applications. But writing an impeccable college essay is a process that requires a lot of time, preparation, and effort. The Vocab Videos team encourages you to get ahead of the game by working on applications and essays over the summer before the hectic school season starts up again.


College Admissions Counseling: Make the Most of Your Summer

If you’re a high school sophomore, junior or soon-to-be senior, consider optimizing your time off from school. Make the most of your vacation with one of our summer opportunity suggestions:

Even if it’s not on your reading list, read a good book this summer
  • Summer job: For many of you, a summer job is a typical part of your summer experience.  If it’s not, we’d recommend you start looking around and applying. Not only will a summer job put some cash in your pocket, it’s a good learning experience. Did we mention it’s also something to tag onto your college activities resume?
    *If you’re getting a bit too late of a start, and summer jobs are scarce, don’t be too discouraged—read on for other ways to have a productive summer!
  • Internship: Internships can provide a world of opportunity. They are a terrific way to get a glimpse into a particular occupation or industry, and thus, to discover if the career path that you’re contemplating is right (or wrong) for you.   And while it may be looking a bit down the road, internships can also turn into job offers.  Whether it’s a paid or unpaid internship, the experience is generally profitable in the end.
  • Volunteer: If you’re having a hard time finding a summer job or internship opportunity, we’d urge you to consider volunteer work. After all, it’s unlikely a volunteer organization will turn down a helping hand. Sure, giving back and giving your time will look good when you’re applying to colleges, but there are many more reasons to volunteer your time. Volunteering can give you the chance to take on a leadership role, meet new people, get involved in your community, or learn and develop a new skill. Overall, it can be quite a personally rewarding experience.
  • Get Smart: Even though you’re not in school, try not to use summer as an excuse to turn off your brain. You may not like the sound of this, but if you’re going into your sophomore or junior year, summer is a great time to start preparing for your SAT. Read a few good books and the newspaper to improve your reading comprehension, try Vocab Videos for a fun way to learn your SAT vocabulary, or slowly work your way through an SAT study guide while lounging around. If you’ve already taken the SAT, read regardless to keep that brain active! Use summer as a time to get ahead of the game.

College Admissions: Where Did Your Favorite Celebrity Go to College?

Hey Vocab Videos fans,

Going to college is cool. You know this. Isn’t that why you’re here after all, trying to raise your SAT scores with Vocab Videos and get into your top-choice schools? Well, keep up the good work. With some genuine effort and commitment, you’d be amazed what you can achieve.

We’re not quite sure what the obsession with celebrity is these days, but we’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Take a look at our list of celebrities below to see where they chose to pursue their higher education. Who knows, maybe you’ll get your college education and meet the next Brad Pitt. Enjoy!

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College Admissions: Dealing with Rejection

Well this sucks...time to consider my other options.

“To allow other people’s assessment of you to determine your own self-assessment is a very big mistake.”

Columbia University President, Lee Bollinger

After seeing a headline in the newspaper reading THE ANSWER IS NO: The Zen of Dealing with Rejection, we at Vocab Videos were reminded of just how rough students applying to college these days have it. You never want to open a letter from one of your colleges that begins “It is with regret that I must inform you…” but in the increasingly competitive world of college admissions, the unfortunate reality is that not all of you will gain admission to your top choice college. In fact, at most top schools, the acceptance rate is below 10 percent. Rejection is never easy, but it is a test of our resilience.

If you receive a rejection letter from your top-choice college, it’s completely normal and natural for you to go through a period of mourning. Yes, you’ll be disappointed, and it will more than likely be difficult to decide on an alternative course of action when you already had your ideal college plan mapped out in your mind. But as hard as it is, this crucial period is not the time to wallow in feelings of rejection and sadness. Katie Malachuk, author of “You’re Accepted: Lose the Stress, Discover Yourself, Get in to the College That’s Right for You,” advises students in this tough spot to “turn a negative into a positive by taking charge of your life.” And we have to say she’s giving some pretty spot-on advice. Take this time to self-reflect and really evaluate what you want out of your college experience. Look to the schools in which you were offered admission and weigh in on what they have to offer you academically and socially. Often times, we get our mind so fixed on our one dream school that we fail to see some of the meaningful things other colleges have to offer. As Ms. Malachuk would say, be open to the notion that “sometimes ‘not your first choice’ is your best choice.” Re-evaluating your college options and ultimately your future may very well lead you to making the choice that is right for you.

And no matter what happens, remember to stay positive. It’s not easy to take the negativity out of rejection, but do your best to keep an open mind. In the end, if you do choose to attend your second or third choice school, give it a real shot. You’re not locked into anything; if it’s not working out or if it doesn’t feel like the right fit, you always have the option to transfer or take some time off to reconsider your alternatives. But it’s never in your best interest to waste a valuable learning experience, and not giving a college a chance will only hurt you in the end.

*Click here to meet a few well known “rejects” who found extraordinary success after being rejected from their first choice colleges.

*The stress associated with college admissions is one of the reasons the Vocab Videos team is doing its small part to make the task of taking the SAT and applying to colleges a little bit easier. Sure we can’t make taking the SAT itself any more amusing, but we can make preparing for it more fun with our hilarious SAT vocabulary videos. Learning your SAT vocabulary can raise your SAT score up to 200 points, so be sure to give Vocab Videos a try!


College Admissions: Applications to Selective Colleges Rise as Admission Rates Fall


Let Me In!!!

The New York TimesThe Choice college admissions blog recently published statistical admissions data to some of the nation’s most selective colleges. The Vocab Videos team encourages you to check out this 2010 admissions tally that will be regularly updated.

The article gives us some insight into just how difficult it is for students to get into top colleges these days. The Choice shares that undergraduate applications to Harvard rose nearly 5% to 30,489 with only 6.9% (or 2,110 students) admitted—that’s down from 7.5% in 2009. This trend, however, doesn’t stop at the Ivy Leagues. With more and more students trying to gain admittance to college, it’s growing more difficult for students to get accepted into all colleges in this increasingly competitive college admissions atmosphere.

But there are things you can do to make yourself a more “desirable” candidate. Consider the important admissions criteria below:

  • SAT/ACT Scores: Whether we like it or not, standardized tests continue to play a significant role in students gaining admittance to college. Be sure to fully prepare for whichever college entrance exam you’re planning to take. Whether you have a tutor, are enrolled in a course, or are preparing on your own—do some test prep as often as possible. Whether it’s a few questions a day or a practice test a week, practice more than anything else, is going to help you master and feel comfortable with the exams. To get an early start on SAT and ACT prep, start up on your vocabulary; it’s something that can be easily incorporated into your daily test prep routine.
  • Get Involved: If you’ve ever seen a college application, you’ll know that somewhere it’s going to ask you for your principal extracurricular, community, volunteer and family activities and hobbies.” Here, it’s your chance to show that you’re about more than grades and SAT scores. Because you know they’re going to be asking you for it, you should be aware of the importance of getting involved—in some way. You don’t have to join every club and sports team in addition to spending your weekends volunteering, but showing commitment to a few activities is imperative. (And if you’ve never volunteered, give it a shot, we’re sure that you’re going to find it quite rewarding).
  • College Essay: The college essay is also crucial, and it’s something you can get an early start on. You’re generally given some degree of choice when it comes to essay topic (take a look at the Common App’s essay options below), so this is an opportunity for you to share something about yourself that you’d like colleges to know. The essay helps to distinguish you as an individual and proves that you’re more than a test score. Be sure to write about something you’re passionate about and take your time with the essay writing process. A thoughtful, well-written essay can make a big difference in distinguishing you as a candidate.
    • Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
    • Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.  Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
    • Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
    • A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you
    • Topic of your choice.

Getting a head start on these items is going to make the college admissions process far less stressful for you, and doing each of them well is going to improve your chance of gaining admission to your top-choice colleges.


College Admissions: College Visits are Crucial!

Be Sure to Make College Visits a Priority!

With Spring Break time here, it’s crucial that you make it a point to visit the colleges you’re considering attending. This is going to be the place you spend the next four years of your life, your home away from home. So it’s important that you love the place, and that you’re comfortable there.

Nothing truly gives you a feel for a college like visiting the campus, so be certain to call up admissions offices to arrange your visit and inquire about campus tours. And be sure to take full advantage of them! Explore the campus and ask your tour guide questions; after all, he or she is most likely a student attending the school who was in your shoes a few years back. We would even suggest that you bring a notebook to jot things down and to keep track of what you liked or didn’t like about a particular college. How is the campus and the surrounding community? What is the typical class size? Are there study abroad programs available? Most of all, could you see yourself going here? Finding the answers to all of your questions will ultimately help you decide on the college that’s your best fit.

Choosing your college is a monumental decision, and taking these extra steps will help to ensure that you select the school that’s right for you.


College Admissions: Beware of Senioritis!

Senioritis? SNAP OUT OF IT!

A lot of high school seniors get under the impression that the importance of senior year starts to dwindle upon receiving admission into college. But, seniors, we warn you: avoid coming down with a case of senioritis! Sure, we see how it could happen. You’ve nearly finished the college admissions game and you’re exhausted. You’ve likely been working your tail off throughout your high school career to keep up your GPA and get into the college of your dreams; you’ve spent time preparing for your college entrance exams and taken your SATs and ACTs; you’ve written all your college essays and likely submitted countless applications. Now, you’re ready to cruise through your remaining time in high school, to really enjoy it. We get it.

But, to stop caring about your grades won’t serve to benefit you in any way. When you have more than likely worked hard for good grades throughout high school, why would you start goofing off now? Not only do you risk tarnishing your academic record, you could potentially compromise your college acceptance. Now, we’re not saying a minor dip in your grades will have your college calling to rescind your acceptance, but a significant enough decline in the grades on your final transcript could certainly be a red flag for your future college.

The truth is, colleges do reserve the right to revoke admissions offers to applicants who fail to maintain their academic performance. Sure, it’s not a typical scenario, but you could see how in today’s extremely competitive college admissions landscape a serious case of senioritis could put you at a greater risk of losing your spot. With more students applying to college than ever and record-setting applicant pools, admissions officers may view you as slightly more disposable. After all, most colleges have a long waitlist of well-qualified applicants who would be more than willing to accept the admissions offer someone else has lost.

So, while we’re not trying to scare you, we are telling you a serious case of senioritis is just not worth it! Stay focused throughout your senior year and committed to doing well. And, not to worry–we have a feeling that when you get to college, you’ll realize they’ll be plenty of time for school and fun!