Academics

State vs Private School

July 29, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

So you’re ready to start applying to colleges, and you have no idea whether a state or private school is the best fit for you. Some will tell you state school for the variety, while others will swear by private for the more personal educational experience. Whatever your choice may be, there are always pros and cons that need to be considered for both. I personally went for the state school for various reasons, but I still made sure to apply to local private schools as well in case I changed my mind last minute. While each university or private college will always have slight differences, here are some general things to know about the two.

The first thing to consider is tuition. The costs of a state school will always generally be much cheaper than that of a private school, which is a huge plus. If the state school is equivalent academically to the private school, it’s always better to avoid being in complete debt post-graduation. Unfortunately, several students find themselves in this situation and later regret attending the private school simply for the monetary aspect.

State schools also have a much bigger population of students, while private schools do not. Some state schools can have up to 50,000 students, while private colleges may hold less than 5,000 students total. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on your personality. If you’re looking for a variety of students and larger classes, then opt for the state school. If you feel more comfortable in a personal setting where several of your classes will only hold 30 students or less, then private school is the better option. Oftentimes at private schools, you will have classes with the same people. The percentage of students that dorm will probably be higher at a state school also since the dorms are specifically cut out for people who are living away from home for most of the year. Private schools will generally have a higher percentage of commuters that choose not to live on campus. With that being said, the campuses will be more spread out and bigger at the universities as opposed to the compact layout that private schools offer. State universities are also usually located in college towns where the nightlife is more popular and bars surround the college.

The sports at state and private schools will also differ. The D1 sports teams come from the state universities for the most part. This doesn’t necessarily mean that private schools do not have exciting sporting events to attend. It simply means that if you want to attend a school with a big sports name, then a state school will have more to offer.

In the end, there are several factors that need to be considered when deciding between the two. I personally knew that I wanted to attend a large university with a variety of students, so an out-of-state university was the perfect option for me. Naturally, I’m biased towards state schools since I feel that they have more to offer, whether that’s simply in regards to classes, extracurriculars, etc. Some of my major classes are small and more personal, where I am able to meet people with similar interests as me, while the general elective classes hold about 300 students at a time.  I always appreciate having a variety of students to meet and communicate wit, while I have friends that could not imagine being in a class of 300 students.  It’s all a matter of preference.

FSU's large campus holds 40,000 students.

FSU’s large campus holds 40,000 students.

Fun Classes for Seminoles

July 16, 2015 in Academics, Alive Campus, Colleges

There are 120 credits needed to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree at most colleges. Of those classes, at least half of them you will regret signing up for and wish you could fall straight to sleep in your chair. “Will I ever use this in life?” is a common phrase most college students will utilize more often than not. But that’s why several colleges will also offer fun classes for students to break free of some stress and enjoy the academic aspect of college as well. Being that FSU is such a large university, it offers a variety of classes that will be pleasing to students of all kind. Here are some of the ones I recommend:

Article and Essay Technique: This is the perfect elective for the writing majors. The class consists of writing and workshopping personal essays that reflect certain points in your life that are deeply personal to you, whether that was a death in the family or a life crisis of some sort. The students all gather around in a circle, read one anothers’ essays, and discuss as a class to each individual student how he or she can improve on their essay. At the end of the semester, two final drafts are due for the two essays. There is another class offered known as Fiction Technique, which is the same concept. The difference is that rather than writing about real personal experiences, students write fictional short stories and provide feedback to their classmates in the same manner.

International Food and Culture: FSU offers several electives along these lines. The classes are either for food, coffee and tea, wine, or beer. You can either take it online or in a classroom where you actually have the opportunity to test the food and drinks out. If you have room in your schedule senior year, any of these would be great choices for a fun 3- credit class.

Stretch and Relaxation: This is a one-credit class that is perfect if you’re just a credit short of meeting graduation requirements. Several classes are offered like this, which all involve physical activity of some sort. Yoga is a great option because it can relax you from all of the stress that college classes generally guarantee.

The Harry Potter Class: You read that right. At FSU, we have a class formally known as Religion and Fantasy Lit, which is more commonly referred to as the Harry Potter class. While I have never taken it, I’ve read and heard nothing but positive feedback from it. The requirements deal with writing papers in relation to the famous Harry Potter book series.

Bowling: Since FSU has a bowling alley in the center of the student union, it only makes sense that the offer a bowling class for credit. If this is a pastime you enjoy doing, then a bowling class is ideal for improving those skills.

Ancient Mythology: This class personally sounds interesting to me. You generally just learn about Greek figures in history, which is always a fun topic to study.

Writing and Editing in Print and Online: The class is a ton of work, but it’s perfect for writing majors who want to advance in both the print and digital world. The professor will usually work close alongside the digital studio, which is always open to helping students learn intricate programs such as Photoshop and InDesign, in addition to digital and video programs.

Fitness Walking: It’s the perfect class for those who want to get into shape and enjoy learning about health and fitness techniques.

Nutrition: I felt that this class was extremely beneficial. It’s a great way to fulfill the science elective at FSU and learn about so many different aspects of nutrition that you didn’t even know were possible. While the class is difficult at some points, you will most likely never lose interest in the subject matter.

Modern Music: Most college students are interested in some type of music, whether it’s in relation to their major or simply for entertainment. This class will touch base on all of the latest music.

There are just a few options for fun classes to be taken at FSU. If none of these sound appealing to you, there are still plenty of other classes that will most likely suit your liking. Take advantage of them your senior year so you have a lighter load, and make sure to enjoy them along the way!

Bowling Class at FSU

Bowling Class at FSU

Tips for the Writing Majors

July 2, 2015 in Academics, Alive Campus

Choosing the right major is probably the most essential part of college. Some students immediately know what they want to study, while some may switch it around 10 times before finally being sure of what they want to do. Either way is completely okay as long as you eventually find your track. I am currently an Editing, Writing, and Media major at the Florida State University, preparing to enter my senior year. After being a part of the major for 3 years, it’s safe to say that there are both pros and cons to the major, just like any other. I chose to study this during my college application process when I was a senior in high school, and never even thought to switch over to another major the past three years. Fortunately, it’s something that I’ve always been set on studying.

The major itself is fundamentally for those who want to go into some form of publishing, whether that’s with magazines, digital websites, etc. Internships that several students experience at FSU are usually within publishing houses, and it’s actually required that we have at least one internship that we receive school credit for prior to graduation if we choose to study EWM. My suggestion is to do an office internship in addition to a digital internship so you can experience both and see what works best for you.

The major is not necessarily difficult like that of organic chemistry, but it’s extremely time consuming since it’s mostly all papers and intricate digital projects that involve programs like Photoshop and InDesign. The several assignments are essentially what your grades are based on as opposed to tests like that of most majors. The positive aspect is that you don’t have to stress out over one simple test affecting your grade, but this can also be a good or a bad thing depending on how good a test taker you are. The most important thing to remember is to not pile yourself with all writing classes in one semester, or you will be swamped every night writing some type of paper or reading 300 pages a night. Spread it out and take your electives as you’re doing your major classes each semester. By doing so, you have at least one class that doesn’t involve so many time-consuming assignments.

There will always be classes in each major that seem pointless, and EWM is no different. I’ve had very helpful ones that improved my writing and digital skills drastically, but I’ve also had history of writing classes that weren’t very beneficial to what I plan to do in life. Unfortunately, if it’s required within the major in order to graduate, it has to be completed. The major also requires a minor to go alongside it since it’s it does not take up an abundance of credits, so some students will even choose to double major. I chose the route to have two separate minors- Italian and Communications, since I wanted to study both and have variety of areas of study to include on my resume. It’s also important to note that the major requires you take three years of one language. My suggestion is to stick to languages like Italian or Spanish, unless you’re passionate about learning the more difficult ones like French or Chinese.

What I personally like about this unique major at FSU is that it’s not exactly Journalism. It strictly focuses on writing and digital work within the media, while Journalism is generally broader in that it includes radio and television as well. Editing, Writing, and Media does not. If you want to go into professions like reporting or television, then Communications is probably the better option. The two are certainly different from one another, so it’s something to keep in mind if you specifically are interested in writing and publishing.

In the end, I’d say that EWM is the perfect major for what I plan to do in regards to my dream profession. I currently have an internship at a major publishing house in NYC, in which I am receiving school credit. Remember that it’s not unusual to change your major several times before settling. It’s just another part of the whole college process!

Choosing a Major

Choosing a Major

How Much Do You Actually Learn in College?

June 5, 2015 in Academics, Alive Campus, Campus Life

This week I was asked to write an opinion piece about some aspect of college, which was surprisingly hard to come up with. As I tried to reflect back on my time in college I thought of a million things to write about, but the hard part was narrowing it down to one thing. Finally it came to me – what is the whole point of college? For me personally I went to college to learn, not just to get a job. My whole life I have enjoyed being in school, so it made sense to go to college to learn even more and to eventually get a degree so that I could get a higher paying job. So, I ask myself…what did I actually learn in college? Does the price tag accurately reflect how much knowledge and experience that students come out of college with?

learning?

learning?

Of course, I am reflecting on my own experience, so other kids in college could have a completely different view or opinion. For me personally, college disappointed me in some ways. I thought that because I was going to a private, small, liberal arts college that every single one of my classes would be challenging, interesting and amazing all at once. This was certainly not the case. I remember taking classes like The Bible, Elementary functions, Ethics, History of Music etc. and thinking that they were a complete waste of time. It wasn’t even that the classes were boring or hard or anything, it was that they had the potential to be good classes and they just weren’t. Whether it was the professor’s teaching style, the people in the class, or the chosen material, these classes straight up sucked.

I realized that the one thing that these classes had in common was that they lost me in the beginning and then it was all downhill from there. Once you get a bad taste of something are you going to continue to want more? On the other hand, I took classes that completely intrigued me and kept my attention even after the lecture was over. All of these classes are the ones that I learned from and still remember things from. To be honest, they weren’t even classes that I thought I would be interested in at all. To name a few – corporate finance, creative writing, anthropology, sociology, media analysis, ethics etc. were all classes that I distinctly remember learning a ton in.

I think the amount and extent by which you learn obviously has a lot to do with your specific interests, but I don’t think that it ends there. I think that your surroundings and particular environment really lends a hand to the classes you remember and those that you don’t. If your professor is always using real examples and seems to really care, you’re probably going to learn a lot. If you have a washed up, ready to retire professor that rambles on about nothing it’s not doing you any good. If you’re in a class of slackers who are constantly bargaining on due dates with the professor I think that it affects your attitude about the class.

My overall point of this is that college may disappoint you, but it’s important to not become discouraged. You will sign up for classes that you think you’ll learn a lot in and you will come to find that you haven’t learned as much as you thought you would. But, for every class that you take that disappoints you, there will be one that pleasantly surprises you. Also, you can’t really measure how much you learn just by your classes. I think that if you graduate college as a better person than when you entered, it’s a good sign that you learned a good amount. So there you have it, my opinion of learning in college.

Finding the Right School for You

May 29, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges

You now what’s crazy? You graduate from high school, barely 18 and you’re expected to know exactly what you want to do with your life and where you want to go. Yeah, that makes sense. If you graduate from high school and are planning to attend college, there are so many decisions that you have to make. It isn’t easy, but luckily there are some resources out there for you to make you “life defining” decision.

Decisions, Decisions!

Decisions, Decisions!

1. Collegeboard.com: I used this site a lot when I was looking for colleges because it gives you a breakdown of each school from the ratio of boys to girls to the price. It’s fairly easy to navigate, and it allows you to see which college is best for you. This is especially useful if price is a big factor for you, because they are fairly accurate and you can compare the prices of each college that you are thinking about attending. Another perk is that this site gives the acceptance rate, which can save you some money from applying to schools that may be out of your league.

2. Guidance counselor: For me, my guidance counselor was very helpful in my search and helped me narrow down my choices. It’s best to find a counselor that is realistic in your search so that they don’t give you any high hopes for schools that aren’t a good fit. If you talk to your guidance counselor about your interests and everything that you’re looking for, they should have enough experience to help you find the right school. They can also connect you with other students that are in the same situation so that you can talk with them and get some extra advice.

3. Studentsreview.com: This site wasn’t so helpful for me, as much as it’s a sort of complaint center for people who weren’t happy in college at all. I made the mistake of visiting this site before I attended my school, and was scared off a little bit. Basically it’s like every other review site – people only leave reviews when they are bitter and rarely leave them when they are content. Most of the reviews on this site are about how certain schools have no parties etc. While some of the things said were a bit true, they hardly reflected the entirety of the school that I chose. I could tell that whoever wrote them must have been more unhappy with themselves and their own lives more than anything.

4. Word of Mouth: This is probably the best way to start your college search, or at least that’s my opinion. I didn’t even know about the college that I chose until I was talking with someone who went there. After hearing them talk about the college, I looked it up and ended up being really interested. If I had never talked to that person, I wouldn’t have even known that the college existed. Just because a college doesn’t have a huge name or isn’t well known, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not the right place for you. Try talking to older siblings or your friends older siblings that are currently in college to help narrow down your search.

The most important thing to remember when looking for a college is to stick to your gut and make the best decision for yourself. Don’t go to a school because all of your friends say it’s the best “party school” and don’t go to a school in Boston just because you think the city is cool. Once you visit the right college for you, you’ll just know it. Weigh all of your options, and don’t forget to do what’s best for you! Good Luck!