by Jordan Fulmer

“Before you act, listen. 

Before you react, think.”

-William Arthur Ward

Pros:

  • There’s usually a higher acceptance rate from the pool of Early Action students than there is for regular decision. By putting your application in early, you’re notifying the admissions office that this school is your top choice and therefore, you’re more likely to go there if they offer you an acceptance, improving their yield.
  • With Early Action, you can still apply to other colleges with the Regular Decision deadline; you’re not restricted. You can wait until financial aid offers come in and you can compare and contrast with other colleges before you make a decision. You won’t have to give Early Action colleges a decision until the National Decision Day, which is May 1st.
  • You’ll know earlier than other applicants whether or not you got in, giving you breathing room your senior year and more time to concentrate on keeping your grades up.

Cons:

  • Not all colleges have Early Action.
  • Also, if you’re denied, that’s the end of it and you’re not considered for Regular Decision unless they defer their decision to put you in with the regular decision pool of applicants (which can happen). 
  • You’ll be compared to students in that pool and that pool only (unless you’re deferred). Usually students who are on top of their game and have great scores, GPAs, and activities will apply Early Action.
  • Senioritis can strike at any moment, especially if you have your answer early. You have to maintain the same GPA and academic rigor in order to keep your spot, which can be harder when you already know you’re accepted somewhere. Early Action deadlines arrive quickly your senior year, right around the time that you’re getting used to your classes, the last SAT is rolling around, and homecoming/senior events start in the fall. You’ll need to plan early to get your application ready in time. 
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Financial Aid Myths

31 Jan 2020

by Nigel Maplethorne

“Don’t believe everything you hear on the street.” – Ernie Isley

We have all heard the common myths of financial aid. These very myths have become horror stories to those most affected by money matters when applying to college. Please, put your minds at ease. After all, a myth is just that: a myth.

1.Private, small scholarships will pay most of your way through college.”

FALSE.

Most of your financial support will come from the school itself, or institutional aid. This means that most of your efforts in affording college should be focused on making yourself desirable to the school so that they will give you extra money to attend.

2. “I’m too well off, so I won’t get any aid.”

FALSE.

There is always merit aid, and it could pay a significant amount of your total cost of attendance. This is why you have put extra effort into submitting a stellar application and essay.

3. “I’m too poor, so I won’t be able to afford college.”

FALSE.

If you have a great level of need, all you have to do is find colleges that offer lots of aid. There are TONS of grants and scholarships out there that could cover a large portion of your need. Also work study, and you’ll probably have to take out a loan, but there’s NO reason why you shouldn’t be able to afford college.

4.Athletic scholarships will pay my way.”

FALSE.

Most athletic scholarships are on the smaller side, and will not be sufficient to cover tuition. Make sure you have other marketable qualities and a killer essay to cover the rest.

5.I don’t need to fill out the FAFSA because I make too much money to get aid.”

FALSE.

Most schools use the FAFSA to get the information they need to offer merit-based scholarships and grants, as do other outside scholarship providers. If you want to receive financial aid, you need to fill out the FAFSA! 

PS: Don’t worry too much about this now, as we’ll talk more specifically about financial aid in personal meetings. This is just a broad overview of misconceptions concerning financial aid. 

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by Dakota Nash

Studying is a chore, and let’s be honest for a second…NOT FUN! It’s stressful, time-consuming, and a mandatory task if we genuinely want to succeed in our classes. However, we can take the negativity out of studying if we give ourselves an area that is entirely ours.

It transforms studying into your personal oasis of learning.

We will want a space that makes us feel comfortable and focused. Having a designated space for studying in your room/house will set you up for success. The trick is to only use this area for studying/work. Doing so allows our brains to recognize this space as a time for study.

 I have a central spot in my room and office, which keeps it familiar and isn’t as jarring as jumping from spot to spot, such as coffee shops, parks, or even the library. I need isolation; I’m too much of a people person to be in a busy place.

Now this area can mean lots of different things to many of us. However, a space that contributes to your learning style will make study/work a little bit more appealing.

As a student and even as an employee, I’m constantly being distracted by numerous things that surround me. It’s nice to have a distraction-free zone that will allow me to focus on my work. No Phones, No Social Media, No Snacking until break, etc. This will help keep your mind in the zone.

 We should keep Items on our desks that are essential to the task at hand and readily available. It takes me out of the zone to go searching for a textbook, therefore eating up more time than intended. My study session became less efficient because I didn’t have the necessary materials at hand.  

It is suggested to have natural light by your desk as well as a low maintenance plant. I personally keep succulents on my desk. They are super easy to maintain and add some life to my space. According to NASA, having a plant on the desk will help with Indoor air quality, breathing, and de-stress an already stressful study situation.

I even recommend having an alarm clock to keep you on track, a piece of paper not for your studies, but to write down any extraneous thoughts (schedule, snacks, and reminders) and a paper calendar to keep you from opening up your phone. Positive, inspiring quotes will help keep your motivation levels up and add some personal flair.

You should want your space solely focused on studying/work. Some like to have their desk cluttered, and others suggest having minimal to no clutter. I’m definitely on the minimal side, but I do need to have all my supplies and materials at hand when I begin my study session. It keeps me organized. On the other side of the spectrum, having a cluttered desk can spark creativity and imagination. It is said that creatives enjoy a cluttered desk. Do what is best to keep you in your workflow.

The bottom line is to decorate your space and design it in a way that sets you up for a successful work session. OWN IT. DO IT. ENJOY IT. 

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By Nigel Maplethorne

1.  Documentary Editor: History is not often connoted with the entertainment industry, which is awfully silly when you consider the number of television networks dedicated to just that: history. As an editor, you would run the various accounts of your subject, look for careful edits that reveal themes, inspire rapt attention, and, most importantly, tell the necessary truth.

2.  Think Tank Researcher: This is a broad and vast field, yet not often one that gets much thought as a career option for history majors. I find this unfortunate given how think tanks can develop research and advocacy on topics such as culture, technology, social policy, and economics. What helps flesh out and define these myriad fields? Historical precedent of course.

3.  Paralegal: After all those years toiling on historical research papers, you can finally put your analytical and research talents to concrete work. That is to say – you can support lawyers by doing research and paperwork on cases. This is especially relevant when dealing with history, as many instances strongly rely on historical, legal precedent.

4.  Political Speechwriter: If there is any job that requires extensive knowledge of history, it is that of a political speechwriter. After all, there are hundreds of years worth of political rhetoric and speeches, not to mention that politics are inherently inseparable from history.

5.  Park Ranger: The position of a park ranger is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when you search for jobs attaining your degree in history. However, many aspects of the job can benefit from such applications. Consider the number of parks that have a rich and varied past. Not only that but consider how many parks offer historical tours and written historical backgrounds. Want to work in the natural beauty that is the great outdoors while utilizing your learnings? Look no further.

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“It looks great on college applications.”

I ask you right now, how many times have you either A) said this to your student or B) heard your student or one of their friends say this about an activity?

“Join that club, it’ll look great on college applications.”

“Take that extra class, it’ll look great on college applications.”

“Well, I’m only in three clubs. I should probably add a few more because that looks better on college applications.”

Increasingly, this is the trend among students that leave them overworked, stressed, and going through the motions instead of dedicating themselves to activities that they’re truly passionate about. Not only do they suffer, but they’re doing the organizations and clubs that they’re involved with a disservice by going through the motions and not truly dedicating themselves to the activity.

This myth, this trend has to stop.

Why do we keep urging students to be as overworked as possible? Is it the competitive nature of college admissions? 

College admissions officers aren’t interested in the student who can balance fifteen activities anymore. They want students who have developed a passion for something and demonstrated an independent, in-depth interest in that passion. Being the president of five clubs on campus is no longer seen in the same favorable light that it was fifteen years ago. In fact, admissions officers would much rather see a student who had an interest in film and started filming small documentaries about his than five club presidencies under his belt. 

We’re doing students a huge disservice by forcing them into activities for one reason and one reason alone instead of encouraging them to further develop their passions and learn in a way that speaks to them. In fact, all of my clients light up the minute we start planning out how to take one of their interests and turn them into activities to further their expertise instead of joining more clubs or activities at school that they’re not interested in joining in the first place. 

Take my brother, for example. His entire life, he loved video games. That’s all he did in his spare time growing up, other than the occasional skateboarding trick or sports team. Developing that interest against the advice of nearly everyone around him, it paid off: he was a subject matter expert in his field, won competitions for a particular game, and is now working for the industry. It was his interest that kept him going school, made money to pay for school, and eventually turned into a career. 

While not every student will turn their hobby into a career, the journey that they take in learning more about a subject interest will do far more for their own self-development than sitting bored in a club meeting at lunch for twenty minutes a week. 

I know you’re thinking to yourself: how do I help my student find this passion? He/She doesn’t seem to be interested in much.

Here are a few ways to find that interest and brainstorm activities to make that interest grow into something incredible. 

1. What does your student spend most of their time doing? If it’s not a particular activity, is there a skill set or a quality about many activities they do that appeal to them?

2. Do they have an interest that you’re not sure you want to because you can’t match a career to it? Be careful here, because even students who have an interest in training homing pigeons will learn something about the nature of animals, develop responsibility, and might even develop teaching skills later on as they pass their wisdom on to future homing pigeon trainers. 

3. Does your student have a unique expertise that they could teach to others?  The expanse of the internet has opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs, giving your student the chance to write an ebook or develop a YouTube channel teaching their expertise.

Now, take that particular expertise and start brainstorming ways to develop new activities around that field. For example:

Does your student like taking pictures? Perhaps they can document the history or social events in your town. They could teach younger kids about photography, even if it’s how to take amazing iPhone pictures. They could compile a collection of photos and enter photography competitions or see about getting their work in a gallery. The list goes on and on…

Before school starts this year, sit down with your student and list out all of the activities they’re planning on participating in and ask them why they picked each one, or the reasoning behind each one. Then start narrowing down the list by the activities that your student is truly interested in pursuing as opposed to the activities that would “look good.” Brainstorm new or exciting ways your student can develop their own interests in activities they want to be a part of. Also, don’t be afraid to make suggestions or cross activities off of the list to make room for new ones or extra time. Your student should have time to be a teenager too.

Remember, admissions officers want to know what you’re truly interested in doing, not a list of activities that “look good.” Or, as quoted in a recent New York Times article:

“Be authentic. We want to know what your real interests and passions are, not what you think we want you to be interested in.” — Dr. Tom Bowling, Vice President for Student and Educational Services, Frostburg State University

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