Admissions

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.

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!

#truth: What’s not to like at Pasadena City College

May 2, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges

Everything always seems better in the beginning. Starting college for me was becoming an adult, becoming myself, and getting to make my own decisions. Pasadena City College was not my first choice college, but it is definitely a great start for someone looking to improve their grades or someone who is still figuring everything out. But before saying “I Do” to the acceptance letter, here are a few things I would change and a few things to consider:

 

1. When Your College Is Not Internship Friendly

 

I’m a lover of internships. I mean, who doesn’t love a great opportunity in a career setting? So mixing school and internship should be a perfect blend, right? Uhh… WRONG. At least at Pasadena City College, your internship needs in-country, in- state, and practically in-city (at least if you want credit for it, which we all would, right?). I was so excited when I got accepted into the Disney College Program and I couldn’t wait to work for my dream company. So when I found out that PCC offered an internship “class”, I was beyond thrilled to still be able to build my college transcript. Then, the class meeting schedule came out. #uhmmwhat? I was going to be in Florida working at Disney World for five months, how could you expect students participating in internships to come to a class? When I asked the professor if there was any way to gain credit for my internship, she responded by saying, “Apply to a college over there.”  And this was me: #wow #rude #unprofessional #byefelicia. With that said, if you want an internship friendly college, PCC is NOT for you. #iwenttofloridaanyway

 

2. When Your College Is Overpopulated 

 

Meeting new people? Heck yes! Having 40 people in a class? It’s possible. Pasadena City College is notorious for being overcrowded. It’s great at first because you get to meet so many new people, but you know its bad when your class is so large, that there isn’t enough seats. Education is something I pay for, so why wasn’t I getting it? It is difficult to learn when education isn’t personal. I practically had to wait in line to have my questions answered. I felt like my teachers hardly had time for me, and what student  PERSON wants to feel left behind? (And not pass a class?)

3. When You Don’t Graduate On Time… Because The One Class You Needed Was Filled

 

I think this might be a struggle every student deals with. Except PCC is notorious for it. This is another issue in overpopulation. I am in no way graduating any time soon, but I also know not to expect to graduate on time.   Many of the classes I needed just were not available because of priority. I wasn’t even able to get into my math class (which I needed prior to college math). #thestruggleisreal Many of my friends who go to neighboring colleges have had better luck getting the classes they need. HOWEVER, Pasadena City College has an amazing transfer rate… to stay or not to stay…

 

 

 

The Community College Guide for (Freshman) Dummies

April 1, 2015 in Admissions, Alive Campus

I remember every detail about my high school graduation day. I wore a light pink + red dress (it was so cute!), I curled my hair, and I remember my name being called along with the words, “Pasadena City College”. Oh yeah. I was now going to COLLEGE! I was now calling the shots. From here on out, anything and everything to come my way was a decision that I got to make. If I wanted to go to Disneyland on a Monday morning, no one could stop me! In N Out for breakfast? Well, of course! The same concept goes for college. YOU have the power to customize your own experience. You can choose classes, professors, and what time (yes, I said WHAT TIME!) you want to go to class. (Keep in mind you will need to take certain courses to get that degree. But don’t worry! Professors and times are still your choice!) So let’s talk COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

PLAN B

Going to a community college was not my dream. Actually, going to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising was. But, if you were like me and had a hard time in high school, going to anywhere but a community college was not an option. Even though Pasadena City College wasn’t my dream college, I was still beyond excited to make the transition from high school to college student! (Trust me, you will feel like an official adult!)

So You’ve Decided to go to a Community College, Eh? 

Well that’s great! And so is the application process! Here it is:

1. Apply online

2. Get accepted

3. Sign up for financial aid

4. You’re In!

That is pretty much the application process for a community college. A few other PROS about going to a community college is that it provides you with so many opportunities while keeping your wallet alive and well! (Think: No $30,000+ tuition!) Being a “**Mr. Grumpy Gills” about going to a **CC? No worries! Put in two great years of your life, granted you get the classes required of you, and you are off to your dream college! (Or any other college besides a CC.) Another great thing about going to a community college is that it gives you time to discover yourself. I can only imagine that if I had gone to **FIDM as a Visual Communications major, how much money I would have wasted as I loved the idea of set design but hated actually doing it. I am now a Communications Art major and it only took one class to change my whole life.

IT ALL STARTS WITH CHOOSING CLASSES

Once you fill out the college application, get accepted, and get approved for financial aid, you will be informed via your personal college account of  your class registration date. (**SNAPS: Take advantage of programs that are aimed to help college freshmen (*ehem* YOU!) into their transition. Sometimes, even an incentive, such as priority registration, is given to those who join these groups!) Once you find your registration date and time, write it down, print it out, I don’t care what you do with it, just make sure YOU REMEMBER IT!

Choose Classes and Professors Beforehand - ONE WEBSITE: Rate My Professors. Your school releases the Schedule of Classes catalog in advance for a reason! Read it, pick the courses and times you want, build your schedule, write down course numbers, and memorize them! But most importantly, look up the professors on ratemyprofessors.com and read the comments. This helped me build and per-fect my schedule because I was able to take courses I wanted with professors who I felt would better my college experience. Plus, most incoming freshman won’t know about this website. INSTANT BONUS POINTS FOR YOU!

  • The Half Hour Registration Rule (**HHRR) – Online course registration is a battlefield. If your registration time is 8:30 AM for example, you better be ready to go at 8:00 AM. The classes you want could and will be filled up just minutes after registration opens. #thestruggleisreal (SNAPS: Course registration can open up as early as 7:00 AM. Keep an eye out on the courses you want and how many seats are taken and still available. That way, if the course you want fills up before your scheduled time, you will know ahead of time to insert your backup course number instead. You do have a backup plan, don’t you?)

The Backup Plan - Signing up for classes is like waiting the last few seconds of an eBay auction. You either get the class- or you don’t. Keep your course numbers close, but your backup course numbers closer! When you put together your perfect, dream schedule, make sure you also find replacement courses to replace the ones that might fill up quickly. THIS STEP IS CRUCIAL.

Community College is fun and you will meet a ton of people! People who went to your high school, people who went to your high school’s rival high school, and people who come from near and far and from all different walks of life! Take this time to network, take fun classes, and find out who you are and who you want to be. It’s also never too early to sign up for internships! Most importantly, remember: This isn’t high school anymore. Your grades will determine who you are not only to other colleges, but employers as well. This is the time to start a new chapter, turn over a new leaf, and start from the beginning. The Starting Line is right here, but will you make it to the Finish Line?

**LINGO!

1. “SNAPS”- These are tips. Why do I call them that? Because I want to. Remember this term! I will be using it often! Too often…

2. “CC”- Community College. Yeah. This one you will pick up quickly.

3.”FIDM”- Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. YOU BETTER REMEMBER THIS ONE PEOPLE! #dreamcollegeforlife

4. “Mr. Grumpy Gills”- C’MON PEOPLE! Finding Nemo ring a bell? No? GO WATCH IT NOW.

5. “HHRR”- Half Hour Registration Rule. If you don’t know this one by now, I can’t help you. #goodluckwiththat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Useful Tools When Searching for the Perfect College

March 20, 2015 in Admissions, Alive Campus, Colleges

college-searchI remember when I was a junior in high school and I had to start considering where I wanted to go to college. It was very nerve racking and I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to study. When I was a freshman I thought I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, but apparently that had completely changed.

Luckily, my high school was very helpful when it came to searching and picking that perfect college. The guidance counselor’s office made sure that there were information sessions when colleges came to visit. Additionally, there would be college fairs. This is where I found a majority of the colleges I was interested in and ended up visiting. I found the college fair to be extremely helpful because they had colleges from all over the U.S. at the fair and representatives from the colleges as well in order to ask questions and get information about the college. I would definitely recommend going to a college fair in high school if there is one available to you, especially if you do not have an idea of where you would like to go.

In addition, asking your teachers is another good resource. The college I ended up going to was recommended by my high school band director. He knew I was applying to the military academies and wanted a military college experience so he told me about VMI, which I had never heard of, and ironically now attend. Also, after you ask your teachers you can then research the schools online and get an information packet sent to you. That’s exactly what I did and I found it very helpful. I found all of these resources very helpful.

Additionally, when searching for the perfect college that fits you, you have to make sure you go and visit the college. This is one of the most important pieces of advice I received when looking for the college I wanted to go to. You have to actually place yourself there and imagine yourself a student there. If you can’t see yourself attending that college or don’t feel like it fits you, then you won’t be happy going there.

Overall, finding the right college can be tough. However, once you know where you want to go it gives you the motivation to do well and finish out your senior year of high school. For me, that is exactly what it did. And even though I might not have gotten the chance to go to the college of my dreams that I worked extremely hard to get into, I know that it made me a better person and that I could not see myself anywhere else than the college I now attend. Everything seemed to work out in the end, but you definitely have to do a lot of research and make sure you have back- ups. There are plenty of resources and people that want to help you find the college that is the right fit for you you just have to be willing and ready.