decisions

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!

How to plan for “The first year of the rest of your life”

August 28, 2014 in Admissions

 

Weigh your options: So many decisions that all seem to come incredibly fast during that one year window between senior year of high school and freshman year of college. How does one know which college is right for them? There can certainly be a few factors that might change the way you choose to pick a school. For example, just because your mother attended a University, and even your grandmother before that did as well doesn’t mean that particular college is the right one for you. You need to go to the beat of your own drum and start your journey on your own terms! When I was a senior in high school I knew I had to do my research. I inquired about which colleges offered freshman work studies? What were the ratios for commuters/on-campus residents? Were there good programs for my major? What was in my realistic budget? I remember thinking there was so much to put into consideration with what seemed like such little time. I knew there was one more thing left to do.

Follow that gut feeling: The deal breaker for me and a lot of my friends was the tour. Bridgewater State University instantly became my first option after touring it because of the beautiful landscaping as well as the art displayed around campus. I could see myself studying in the grass and laughing with friends outside of the huge buildings. I compared this with UMass Dartmouth which had a completely different feel to it with concrete and futuristic art almost everywhere. My roommate of almost four years did so well in high school that she had a small list of schools that would pay for her education in full (or close to it). At first she claims that the one that could offer her the best scholarship was the clear choice. She went to tour it and realized that it was a whole lot smaller than what she had imaged. She had thought all hope was lost until she toured BSU because it was simply close to her house. She explained that she fell instantly in love with our college and could definitely see herself there. Bridgewater State University has a gorgeous campus and both me and my roommate are more than happy that we chose this school to further our education.

Bridgewater Bear Basics:  Interested in Bridgewater State University but haven’t done enough research? Here are some usual questions/facts that one might want to put into account before applying to this college.

  • Early action is offered
  • Early decision is not offered
  • Electronic Application available
  • 73% of applicants are admitted
  • Application fee: $40

What makes BSU different: What makes us so different here at Bridgewater State is that we make it our mission to embrace whatever “different” may be. BSU does not discriminate against age, sex, race etc. In fact, they feel so strongly about accepting all types of diversity on their campus that even during freshman orientation they have a diversity work shop.

So in the meantime: Not quite a senior in high school yet but have been thinking about BSU? Keep yourself busy! Of course having a good GPA is one way to help your chances of getting into your dream school come true, but you need something that makes you stand out. Try joining a sport or a club. With so many options I truly believe there is something available for everybody, no matter what ones interest is.

An Unexpected Decision

August 22, 2014 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Career, Colleges, Reviews

 

It all began around the August before entering my senior year of high school.  The panic, the fear, the anxiety.  All of my thoughts were focused only on one word with too much meaning: “college.”

What is my future?

What is my future?

I was not one of those kids who grew up living and dreaming of only a single school.  In fact, I had absolutely no idea where I planned on spending my college days.  East coast?  West coast?  Not a clue.  I had always known that I wanted to live away from home, but not too far.

I started looking through a lot of websites and books directed solely to helping high school seniors decide on which colleges to apply to.  The only thing that I knew I wanted was a big school.  Sometimes I didn’t even know what I was reading because my head was spinning all over the place.  But eventually, I had narrowed it down to eleven schools.  Yes, eleven.  It seemed ridiculous to others, like some my friends who only planned on applying to about six or seven, some only two or three, but I just couldn’t make a decision.  It wasn’t that easy for me.  My guidance counselor thought I was crazy.  My parents were frustrated because of the amount of money they spent on application fees.  But for some reason, I thought I knew what I was doing.  It took me a solid week to fill out the Common App to my liking.  I had two teachers and my guidance counselor write my recommendation letters in the beginning of the school year, so I wouldn’t have to worry about fighting for their time when other students were seeking their recommendations as well.  I applied “early action,” to every school that offered it because I thought that would give me a leg up on the thousands of other applicants.  To this day, I’m not really sure if it did or didn’t.

There were only about three schools that I was sure I could get into.  The others on the list were long shots, and I knew that. If I could go back, I would definitely have not applied to all those schools that I knew I would not get into.  It just wasn’t worth it.

After all the applications were sent in and all the fees were paid, I played the waiting game.  Hard.  Every single day after school I would check my online accounts to see if there were any updates on my admission status.  I practically threw myself at the mailbox when I got home from school to see if there were any big envelopes addressed to me.  Even on Sundays, when there was no mail.  It was a bit over the top.

I finally received my first acceptance letter a few days before Christmas.  Along with the acceptance I also received a hefty scholarship, which really didn’t help considering the school was extremely expensive already.  That letter reassured me that despite my thoughts of failure, I did have a future.

After the New Year, around the end of January and the beginning of February, I began hearing back from the majority of my schools. All of my friends started to figure out where they wanted to go, and I was still in a fog.  I still had no idea what to do.  At the end of March, I made a list of the number of acceptances I had.  It looked like this: Yes-3, No- 5.  I had realized that I had one school missing.  That school was the University of Rhode Island.  I had absolutely no idea why I applied there.  I had only known one person who went there, and I never even visited the campus.  But looking down at my list, the schools that accepted me didn’t seem like they were right for me.  So, I did a little bit more research on URI.

It turned out that URI was exactly what I had wanted in of a school.  So, I began to basically harass the Admissions Office about my application.  After about twenty phone calls over a two-week period, someone eventually emailed me back requesting that I send my previous marking period grades in order for the Admissions Committe to review my application again.  I did, and during the middle of April I got my acceptance.

Even after I was accepted, to be truthful I still really didn’t know if I wanted to go to URI.  I hadn’t ever been to Rhode Island, and all I knew about it was that it’s the smallest state in the country and the winters there are freezing.  I had narrowed it down to URI and one other school, which was my first acceptance.

On April 15, URI had its accepted students day, which I attended with my mother.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least go look at it, as the schools I was accepted to weren’t exactly jumping out at me.  The second I set foot on the campus, I made the decision that URI was where I would be spending my next four years.  The campus was absolutely beautiful.  The buildings were old and eye-catching.  They reminded me of old castles.  But inside, they’re fairly new and modern.  I was given a tour of the entire campus, and I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time.  From the ginormous quad in the middle of campus, to the library, to the Memorial Union, there was no changing my mind.  I had finally found the school for me.  My mother kept giving me the “This is the school for you,” look.  And I knew she was right.  It was a fairly big school with roughly 15,000 undergrads.  Greek life was a huge presence, which was important to me because I knew I wanted to join a sorority.  And the best part? URI was just over 3 hours away from where I live in New Jersey.  It the perfect fit that I didn’t even realize.

So, the day I got home from my trip to Accepted Students day, I put down my housing deposit, which signified that I had made my choice.  It was the biggest feeling of relief I have ever experienced.  Whenever I’m having a bad day at school or I feel like things just aren’t going my way,  I try to remember that feeling I had when I put down my deposit, and I’m reminded of how happy I was that I had a promising future at URI.

Now, I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to giving advice, but here goes my best shot based solely on my application experience: 

-Don’t apply to schools that you are absolutely positive you will not get into.  It is a waste of time and money.-If you think you might have a shot at a school and you can really see yourself succeeding there, do yourself a favor and apply.  If you don’t, it’ll bother you not knowing if you could have gotten in.

-Do your research.  Know what you want out of a college experience and find schools that can give you what you want.

-It sounds cliché, but a pros and cons list really helps you visibly see the options you’re considering.  Make one when you’ve narrowed it down to the last few schools.

-You cannot listen to everyone’s opinions.  It’s okay to hear them out, but they are not you.  Some people’s opinions can definitely be valuable, but you need to be strong enough to tune out everyone else’s comments.  Everyone’s views of colleges are different. It is your decision, nobody else’s.

-Setting up interviews with admissions committee’s can be highly beneficial.  There is a major difference between reading about someone on a few pieces of paper and actually physically seeing what they’re all about.  Admission’s committee’s want to see you in person, but you have to take the initiative and make an effort so that they know you really want it.  It could be the deciding factor as to whether you get accepted or not.  Of course, you do not have to do this, I didn’t, but it could help.

-As far as URI goes, there are a lot of applicants.  Since it’s a state school, they tend to take a hefty amount of students who are from Rhode Island.  But, speaking from social experience, if you aren’t from Rhode Island, you’re probably from Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, or Massachusetts.  As long as you do relatively well on your SAT and you have at least A’s and B’s in high school, you have a fair chance of getting in.  A few extracurricular activities and some great recommendation letters can’t hurt either.

-Lastly, if a school is not for you, it is simply not for you.  Don’t try to convince yourself otherwise.  If you feel like it isn’t right for you, move on and don’t get hung up on it.  There is always another option.  Believe it or not, I can assure you that there is a college for everyone.

So many choices, however will I choose?

June 25, 2014 in Admissions, Alive Campus, Colleges

 

Decision-Making

 

Planning for college is no easy task and at times it may seem quite daunting because it’s one of your first steps into adulthood. There are so many colleges to choose from and it can be a hard decision to make, but you have to decide what school is the right fit for you. I remember my planning experience like it was yesterday.

Senior year of high school came so quickly. It was staring me in the face before I could even blink an eye. However, I had already started the process for applying to colleges because I had decided to go a different route. At the beginning of my junior year of high school, I attended a college fair due to the advice from my mother that I better start thinking about where I would like to go to school. As I walked from table to table, I was overwhelmed by the many choices I had until I came to THE table. I was standing in front of the West Point table and knew that was where I wanted to go to school. I never thought about going into the military before that night but once I saw the pamphlet for West Point, I knew there was no place else I wanted to go. Thus began the long and harrowing process of applying to not just West Point but all three academies because you have to have back-ups when applying to college.

Senior year was gruesome going through the excruciating process of applying to all three academies (West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy). And of course I had my back-ups which included The Citadel, Virginia Military Institute, and one home state school Mizzou (The University of Missouri-Columbia), even though I knew I wanted to go out of state but you should always play it safe.

Now brings me to the three reasons of why I chose to attend the Virginia Military Institute. Reason one was that unfortunately after putting a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into applying for the academies, I was not accepted or I was wait-listed and had to pick one of my back-up schools, which I was accepted into all three. Reason two was that I knew that I wanted a military college experience and so that left me with only two choices out of the three remaining colleges I applied to. The Citadel, which I went and visited, and the Virginia Military Institute, which I sadly did not get too visit. And thirdly, the most inescapable reason—money. I had to settle going to the Virginia Military Institute because they gave me the most scholarship money and financial aid out all the colleges I had applied to.  Now I know that this may seem like an awful reason to choose a school but it’s reality and in many ways than not it lead me to a school that I know has made me a better person and in the end a true citizen-soldier. Virginia Military Institute—the West Point of the South. So in the end, I did go to West Point, just not the West Point that everyone knows.

Now in order to get into the Virginia Military Institute you want to have good grades and be involved in a plethora of different activities, be physically fit (you’re going to need it), and be a well-rounded person. Some tips I would give would be to do a little bit of everything in high school and try to be in leadership positions. Also, make sure you are in top physical shape. If you are looking for a military college experience or want to be an officer in the armed forces, then I think V.M.I (Virginia Military Institute) is the place for you. The one thing to remember though is you have to want to be there. V.M.I is no ordinary college and it will test you in more ways than you can imagine. But who want’s an ordinary life? Will you accept the challenge?

VMI-barracks

VMI-barracks

What You Shouldn’t Do In College

May 9, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Top 10 Lists

As anyone who’s read any of my material may know, I think it’s important to see things from as many different perspectives as possible. That being said, it’s tough to say that you should or shouldn’t do anything during college. I mean, it’s college. In my opinion as long as you come out with a degree in something (anything, really), and without any more addictions than you had when you enrolled, then you did your job.

So with that in mind, what I can offer are some tips that may help you in getting that essential piece of paper, and avoiding any new counter-productive hobbies like the habitual use of grade C-A substances. In the end, the main goal is finding and maintaining the delicate balance between this and this.

1- Don’t wait to pick your major.

One thing that is really bugging me lately is the fact that I waited until I was more than half way through college to pick a major. I could have graduated with a minor or even a double major, but I spent my first two and a half years in random intro courses because I was hesitant to pick a major. Just pick one. If you feel like switching later, great! You probably already have enough credits in your former major to make that your minor.

2- Don’t surround yourself with boring people.

Whether you spend your nights subconsciously developing an addiction to alcohol or sleeping at the library, anything is better than surrounding yourself with people who wake up at noon, watch TV for 7 hours then go to sleep. That’s a good way to waste four of what are meant to be the best years of your life.

3- Decision making whilst intoxicated.

I’m just going to rattle off a couple of things that come to mind in regards to making that subtle, yet pivotal drunken decision. It’s mainly deciding not to do certain things.

A.) Don’t forget to drink a water before bed

B.) Post water and pre bed, don’t forget that urination is essential.

C.) If you’re really excited and need to hit something, don’t go for windows or hard walls. If you absolutely must fire off a punch, go for one of those hollow, borderline cardboard doors. Safety and satisfaction.

D.) Once you’re home, don’t go back out. There is not one person who has woken up in a foreign bathtub at noontime the next day and said, “Thank goodness I didn’t stay in my bed last night.”

4- Don’t expect your relationship to work.

For those who come into college in a relationship, don’t expect it to last. Of course there are exceptions to everything. There are high school sweet hearts who are still together after college, but let’s just say I’ll put $100 on your relationship failing for what could be an infinite amount of reasons. Might as well rattle off the top 5 while we’re at it-

-drinking problems

-sloppy women

-drugs

-too focused on school

-sloppy women

5- Molly


Finally, don’t ever do Molly- It’s not cool, it puts holes in your brain.

Don’t be silly.

Drugs are bad

Drugs are bad